April 12, 2021 3:42:45 am
West Bengal on Sunday recorded its highest-ever increase in daily Covid cases and more than 4,000 cases for the second straight day as 4,398 infections took the state’s active caseload to 23,981. The patient count at the start of the month was 6,513.
According to the state health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 10 people died on Sunday, taking the toll to 10,400. While nine deaths were reported from Kolkata and its neighbouring North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts, one patient in Birbhum died.
The surge in cases is apparent in bed occupancy numbers. The bed occupancy rate was 3.15 per cent at the end of February. As cases started to rise, it rose to almost 10 per cent at the start of April. With the infection count escalating, it has climbed to 34.94 per cent. The concern about the pandemic situation in the state has also been exacerbated by a shortage of vaccine doses in several hospitals.
“Several hospitals in West Bengal have either stopped the inoculation drive or are using the limited stock they have at the moment,” a senior state health department official told PTI.
The official said the central government had been apprised of the situation and more vaccines were on their way. “We have sent requisitions to the Centre. We expect to receive about four lakh doses on Monday,” he added.
A senior official at CMRI Hospital said the state government had asked the facility to “slow down the vaccination process” to deal with the current scarcity. She said people scheduled to receive the second dose had been asked to wait till further notification from the hospitals concerned. “At present, we are only administering jabs to those who want to take the first dose,” the official added.
With the explosion in case numbers coinciding with the state polls, the Election Commission (EC) has instructed political parties to adhere to Covid safety protocols. On April 9, the EC reiterated its guidelines for strict observation of the protocols during rallies and campaign events.
“The political parties and candidates concerned should ensure that all Covid-19 related requirement like face masks, sanitisers, thermal scanning etc are fulfilled during each of these activities. It was further stated that non-compliance of instructions during the period of public interface will attract actions as per provisions under Disaster Management Act and Indian Penal Code,” read the EC notice.
It added, “It is widely known that in the recent weeks. Covid cases are being reported in larger numbers. However, instances of election meetings/campaigns have come to the notice of the Commission, where norms of social distancing, wearing of masks etc have been flouted in disregard to the Commission’s above guidelines. Instances of star campaigners/political leaders/candidates not observing Covid protocols, including non-wearing of masks themselves at stage or while campaigning, have come to notice. By doing so the political parties are exposing themselves and as well as the public attending such election meetings to the grave danger of infection.”
(With PTI inputs)
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