Updated: January 5, 2022 9:44:48 am
The last 24 hours witnessed a nearly 50 per cent jump in daily Covid-19 cases in West Bengal – from 6,078 on Monday to 9,073 on Tuesday – with the state’s test-positivity rate climbing to 18.96 per cent. Kolkata alone has contributed half of the daily new cases with 4,759 people testing positive in the city in the last 24 hours.
Amid the surge in the cases, the state Health Department has issued a new Covid treatment guideline, stating that hospitalisation should be avoided as much as possible especially in the case of mild symptomatic patients.
The guideline recommends hospitalisation for Covid-positive people with a body temperature of 102 degrees or more, recurrent fever for at least seven days and a low pulse rate.
According to a section of doctors in the state Health Department, the decision to admit mild symptomatic patients in hospitals has been taken considering widescale infection among doctors. Sources said that over 200 doctors and health workers have been infected amid the latest surge in cases now. “Mild infection can be cured if the patient is properly treated. But, hospitalisation may bring further infection that may create further complications. So, we are saying to avoid hospitalisation as much as possible,” a senior doctor in the Health Department said.
Also, the state health department has decided to exclude monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy and the use of steroids like molnupiravir for Covid treatment.
According to sources, the state has received no instructions from the Central Government regarding the use of monoclonal antibody therapy and molnupiravir.
Besides the doctors and healthcare workers, Kolkata police personnel have also been hugely affected in the latest infection surge. Already, the Joint Commissioner, Additional Joint Commissioner and five Deputy Commissioner-level officers of Kolkata Police have been infected.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to distribute food to the poor affected in the latest surge. “There may be many poor people affected due to the recent surge in Covid. All DMs are requested to ensure that the administration reaches out to them immediately. Many of them may be in home isolation. It has been decided that a packet containing muri (puffed rice), rice, daal, biscuits etc be delivered to their homes… The delivery will be done through West Bengal Police,” Chief Secretary Harikrishna Dwibedi stated in a directive to all the district magistrates and police chiefs.
Since Monday, the state government has imposed fresh restrictions from the closure of educational institutions, entertainment parks and tourist places, to allowing only 50% attendance in offices and local trains.
Shopping malls, cinema halls and restaurants have been allowed to operate at 50 per cent of their capacity till 10 pm, and only essential services will be permitted to operate between 10 pm and 5 am.
The government has also limited the arrival of flights from Mumbai and Delhi – the two cities with a high number of Covid-19 cases – to two days, Mondays and Fridays, from January 5. The curbs are in place till January 15.
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