Updated: May 1, 2021 11:23:51 am
West Bengal on Friday reported a record 96 deaths, among them an outgoing Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA, even as it announced that last rites of Covid victims would be performed for free. The administration urged people not to entertain any middlemen at crematoriums and burial grounds.
Two-time Baruipur East MLA Nirmal Mandal, 61, was among the 28 patients who succumbed to the respiratory disease in Kolkata. Mandal was elected to the Assembly for the first time in 2011. Five years later, he retained the South 24 Parganas seat. This time he was replaced by Bibhas Sardar.
Mandal was admitted to RN Tagore Hospital here on April 26 after he tested positive for Covid. After initial treatment, the MLA was shifted to MR Bangur on April 29, where he breathed his last on Friday afternoon.
As the statewide toll almost touched 100, the health department reported a record 17,411 new cases that pushed up the patient count to 1,13,624. The capital city registered 3,436 infections in 24 hours, while North 24 Parganas recorded 2,763 cases and 20 deaths. According to the state health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 45.48 per cent of beds are occupied at present.
Meanwhile, the health department said cremations and burials of Covid-19 victims would be free. In a notice, the administration said the urban development and municipal affairs department had appointed nodal officers to ensure people are not harassed during the process.
With recent incidents of bodies of deceased Covid patients remaining unattended for hours, sources in the government said the nodal officers would expedite the cremation process and get it completed within three hours of death.
No shots for 18-44 age group for now: Govt
The state health department on Friday said the inoculation of people in the 18-44 years age group will not begin on May 1 because of a vaccine shortage. A health official said the process would begin for people in this category once adequate shots reach the state.
In a notice, the health department said health workers, frontline workers and people above 45 years would continue to receive their jabs free of cost. Those who are due for their second shot will also get it. The government said people who took their first shot from private institutions can take the second one in government centres. An official said 1,70,425 people were vaccinated on Friday. Of them, 49,296 people took the first dose and 1.16 lakh completed their inoculation.
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