West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay on Tuesday convened a meeting with top state government officials to assess the Covid-19 situation in the state after Durga Puja celebrations concluded the day before.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also addressed the meeting over the telephone. The chief secretary directed health officials to increase testing using the existing infrastructure.
The state recorded 20,496 Covid-19 cases since October 22 — the first day of the five-day Durga Puja festival — but the rising recovery rate blunted the increase in cases. In the same period, the recovery rate improved from 87.44 per cent to 87.76 per cent.
On Tuesday, the state reported 3,957 infections — the first time in over a week that fewer than 4,000 cases were recorded — as the active caseload dropped for the first time in over a month, settling at 37,172.
The test positivity rate has also increased despite a decline in testing numbers. On Tuesday, it was 8.16 per cent, up from 7.96 per cent at the start of the month.
According to the state health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 296 deaths occurred since October 22, with 58 recorded on Tuesday. Among those who died in this period are a doctor and a Kolkata Police constable.
Dr Amal Roy, who was in his fifties and posted at the Birbhum district hospital in Suri, had recovered from the disease but died early Tuesday morning at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH).
A senior health official said, “He was facing some breathing problems, following which he was provided oxygen support at home. His condition started deteriorating on Monday evening, following which he was taken to the CMCH. He died this morning.”
The constable, whose death was announced by the city police on Sunday, was identified as Manoj Kumar Singh.
Following the uptick in the recovery rate, the active caseload in North 24 Parganas district, which is in the pandemic epicentre in South Bengal, dropped below 7,000 on Tuesday to settle at 6,973. Active cases have dropped in Kolkata too, but it was still 7,136 on Tuesday.
Outside the infection hotspot, eight districts, of which five are in South Bengal, have more than 1,000 active cases. They are Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur and Nadia in South Bengal, and Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Malda in North Bengal.
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