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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bengal among states of concern, says Centre; low testing flagged

Meanwhile, experts are concerned that the daily sample testing numbers in the state are not adequate.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
January 13, 2022 5:42:27 am
Pilgrims and visitors at Gangasagar Mela in Sagar Island on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

WEST BENGAL is among those emerging as “states of concern [reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases along with Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu,” Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, experts are concerned that the daily sample testing numbers in the state are not adequate. In the past 24 hours, 71,792 samples were tested in Bengal. On Tuesday 65,210 samples were tested in the state while on Monday, samples tested were down to 51, 675 — a drop of nearly 20,000 from Sunday’s daily testing numbers.

On Sunday, 71,664 samples were tested. On Wednesday, the state capital, Kolkata, recorded a 60.29 per cent positivity rate, a state health bulletin said. Bengal has reported an overall positivity rate of 30.86 per cent, it added.

Amid the second wave last year, for instance on May 12 – when new cases stood at 20,377 and the positivity rate was 9-10 per cent – the average sample size for testing would hover around 70,000 daily.

“Under-testing is a policy to underplay the situation. In the present situation, ten per cent samples should be sent for genome sequencing when it is important to know which variant a person is infected with. Omicron and Delta variants call for different kinds of treatment. But the ground reality is that we are sending only around one per cent of samples for genome sequencing. Also, we have experienced surge in cases after some kind of celebration/festivities and gatherings during the first and second waves but still we are promoting melas and conducting elections,” said Dr Ansuman Mitra, Secretary, Medical Service Centre.

On Tuesday, senior cardiologist Dr Kunal Sarkar also expressed concern over the Covid-19 situation.

“Bengal – misleading case numbers – low testing. A steady increase in bed occupancy – hospital stressed for staff – other medical emergencies being denied,” Sarkar tweeted.

West Bengal sees 22,155 new Covid cases, 23 more deaths

Kolkata: West Bengal on Wednesday witnessed a slight surge in its daily tally of new Covid-19 cases, recording 22,155 fresh coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

Kolkata accounted for 7,060 of these new cases, according to a health bulletin.

Active cases in the state now stand at 1,16,251. The total number of people who are currently in home isolation is 1,12,492 while 3,527 are in hospital. Bengal has till date recorded 18,17,585 cases.

With 23 deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll has reached 19,959. The discharge rate in the state over the last 24 hours reduced to 92.51 per cent.

North 24 Parganas, the second most-affected district in Bengal at present after Kolkata, recorded 4,326 new cases and eight deaths while state capital Kolkata registered seven Covid-related deaths in the past 24 hours.

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