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Sunday, January 23, 2022

In Kolkata, one out of every two taking Covid test is positive

The state Capital reported 7,484 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths in the last 24 hours. Kolkata’s daily case count was also the highest among all districts of West Bengal.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: January 8, 2022 6:11:10 am
Tamil Nadu Covid updatesCurrently, 5.28 per cent hospital beds are occupied in the state. (File)

Kolkata’s test-positivity rate on Friday shot up to 53.1 per cent Friday, which means that the result of every second sample for Covid-19 test is returning positive in the city.

The state Capital reported 7,484 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths in the last 24 hours. Kolkata’s daily case count was also the highest among all districts of West Bengal.

The state reported 18,213 fresh infections with a test-positivity rate of 26.31 per cent, according to a bulletin issued by state Health Department. As per officials, 69,158 samples were tested on Friday.

Friday’s figures took Kolkata’s caseload and toll to 3,71,142 and 5,347, respectively.

The number of new cases in Kolkata have risen sharply over the past one week. On January 3, the city clocked 2,801 fresh cases and four deaths. Over the next three days, its daily tally more than doubled to reach 6,569 new cases. On Wednesday, Kolkata had registered 6,170 new cases and five deaths.

Apart from Kolkata, North 24 Paraganas also recorded a high number of new cases (3,118).  The virus also claimed 18 lives in the state that pushed the toll to 19,864.

On Friday, West Bengal’s case tally stood at 17,11,957 and the number of active cases at 51,384. The state’s patient discharge rate reduced to 95.84 per cent.

Meanwhile, doctors in Kolkata said that unregulated gatherings are among the key reasons behind the surge in Covid-19 cases in the city. They said that the recently concluded Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls, Christmas and New Year celebrations are to be blamed for the unprecedented rise in new infections in Kolkata.

“It is no secret that the urban part of the city is likely to be affected more. Hence, more responsibility lies on the administration when it comes to the city. We saw huge gatherings during KMC elections, Christmas and New Year celebrations. Now, the administration is busy with the Ganganagar Mela. If regular testing is done, we will surely touch the figure of 1 lakh positive cases daily. The situation in Kolkata is very alarming and the kind of healthcare infrastructure we have isn’t enough. More than 1,000 doctors across West Bengal have tested positive for Covid-19,” said General Secretary of Association of Health Service Manas Gumta.

The last time West Bengal’s daily case count had breached the 18,000-mark was on May 5, 2021 during the Covid-19 second wave and days after Assembly poll results were announced. The state had registered 18,102 cases. At the same time, the number of new infections in Kolkata — 3,973 cases — at that time were around 50 per cent of Friday’s figures.

“We have invited this crisis. During municipal polls, we saw regular campaigning where people flouted Covid-19 protocols openly. We saw huge gatherings on Christmas and New Year. We as doctors have time and again alerted the administration to keep a check on such gatherings. We also started an online petition which was signed by more than 7,000 people to get the Gangasagar Mela cancelled this year,” said a Kolkata-based doctor Punyabrata Goon.

He also said that given how doctors and nurses were being affected by the virus, the healthcare system will collapse. “Above all, the isolation period has been reduced to seven days from 10 days earlier, which shows that even the administration wants healthcare workers to return to work at the earliest.”

Goon said that restrictions like night curfews can’t do much as people don’t step out in large numbers at night. “We have always been against lockdowns. It only impacts livelihoods. In fact, the focus should have been early testing and accordingly declaring containment zones,” Goon added.

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