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Covid cases double in 24 hours, Bengal halts flights from UK

The weekly test-positivity rate for Kolkata rose to 12.5 per cent, according to the data shared by the state Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. West Bengal’s test-positivity rate has increased to 5.47 per cent.

Written by Sweety Kumari | Kolkata |
Updated: December 31, 2021 9:42:06 am
The crowd at Park Street in Kolkata on Christmas. The city's Covid-19 positivity rate has shot up to 12.5 per cent as cases keep surging. (Photo: PTI)

The number of new Covid-19 cases in West Bengal doubled to 2,128 in the last 24 hours with Kolkata alone reporting 1,090 new cases on Thursday. The test-positivity rate also saw a huge jump. The weekly test-positivity rate for Kolkata rose to 12.5 per cent, according to the data shared by the state Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. West Bengal’s test-positivity rate has increased to 5.47 per cent.

Amid the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in the state in the wake of the emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus, the West Bengal government on Thursday decided to suspend all direct flights from the United Kingdom from January 3.

“…In view of the rising number of Omicron cases globally as well within the country, the state government has decided to temporarily suspend all direct flights from the United Kingdom to Kolkata with effect from January 3,” read a government notification.

Flights from “at risk” countries will not be allowed to land in the state, the notification said. “Further, with effect from January 3, all passengers arriving from other ‘non-at-risk’ countries via international flights to West Bengal will have to undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test on arrival,” it added.

“The airlines will randomly select 10 per cent of the passengers for an RT-PCR test and the remaining 90 per cent shall undergo a rapid antigen test (RAT) on arrival at the airport. Those found positive in the rapid antigen test will further have to undergo an RT-PCR test. Further, all passengers have to mandatorily pre-book the test before boarding to reduce waiting time on arrival, which the airlines must ensure before allowing boarding,” said an official of the health department.

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