Amid the easing of lockdown restrictions, West Bengal on Saturday reported another highest single-day jump in number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities, taking the total positive cases close to 8,000 and toll count to near 400.
For the second consecutive day, the state reported 400 plus cases – 435 on Saturday, 427 on Friday. In the last six days, beginning this month, the state has seen its coronavirus case load increased by 2,237 – accounting for nearly 30% of the total cases.
The weekly average growth rate of infection is also among the highest in the country, equaling Delhi’s 7 per cent.
Senior doctors at state-run hospitals here said that “unplanned relaxation of lockdown norms” and return of migrants were to blame for the surge in numbers. Some of the doctors also said the lockdown did not yield the expected results, as the migrant movement was allowed amid the spike in cases, and curbs were eased abruptly.
“The rise should be attributed not just to return of people from other states, but also the unnecessary rush to ease the lockdown norms. Health experts had been warning against such moves, as the outbreak might just get out of control. Total shutdown should have continued at least for a few more weeks,” a senior doctor at one of the dedicated Covid-19 hospitals in the city was quoted as saying by PTI.
In Kolkata alone, a total of 2,684 coronavirus cases were registered till date, up from 1,000 in mid-May — a rise of over 1,600 cases in less than a month — and 559 cases in the past one week.
Most of the infections on Saturday were reported from Kolkata, which recorded 94 cases.
The trend continued in adjacent districts with Howrah reporting 353 new cases, North 24 Parganas 300, and Hooghly 256 in the last one week.
North Bengal, which was largely unaffected by the pandemic till May, has over 700 cases at present.
Both Cooch Behar and Alipurduar were green districts until May 27. On Saturday, the case load in the two districts stood at 155.
The districts of Alipurduar, Kalimpong, Dakshin Dinajpur, Paschim Bardhaman and Jhargram did not report any infection on Saturday.
With 17 more deaths and 383 in total, the mortality rate is now 5 per cent. Of the fresh deaths, nine were reported from Kolkata and four from North 24 Parganas, while one each was reported from the districts of South 24 Parganas, Howrah, East Medinipur and Nadia.
According to the data from the state health department, the test positivity rate was nearing 3% for the first time since May 19. It was 2.96% on Saturday, the highest since May 23, when the health department started to consistently test more than 9,000 samples a day. According to the health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 9,771 samples were examined in the 24 hours — the highest number of samples tested in a day till now. Overall, health officials have analysed 2,61,288 samples.
With the rising infection, the active case count rose to 4,236 despite 207 people getting discharged from hospitals following there in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recovered patients to 3,119.
Health officials said 22,669 people were still in government quarantine facilities, while 1,52,173 people were isolated at home.
Meanwhile, the government changed the protocol for families of deceased Covid-19 patients to pay their last respects. According to the latest rules, the hospital administration has to inform families within an hour of death.
A body cover that is transparent near the face will be used, and the covers being used until now will be discarded. Families will be provided with sanitised masks and gloves, and given 30 minutes to pay their respects.
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