Updated: August 7, 2020 9:17:07 am
West Bengal on Thursday recorded almost 3,000 cases in a day for the first time, with a record 2,954 infections taking the case count to 86,754, while 56 deaths pushed up the toll to 1,902. This came on a day the state announced it had conducted over 25,000 tests in 24 hours.
About 63 per cent of the latest infections, and 47 of the deaths were recorded in the pandemic epicentre in South Bengal comprising Kolkata, its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Howrah; and Hooghly.
Meanwhile, the state health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, reported that 25,224 tests were conducted in 24 hours.
In the last week of July, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had set the health authorities the target of stepping up testing to 25,000 samples a day by August 15.
Banerjee on Thursday told reporters, “Many states are decreasing their number of tests, but we are increasing it. We want to identify more patients and to take control of the situation. So, we are giving more emphasis on increasing testing and tracing.”
Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said, “Our Chief Minister announced that we will reach 25,000 tests per day within August 15, but we reached that mark well ahead on August 6. It implies that the government has full control on Covid management.”
Government officials attributed the increased testing on rapid antigen tests, which were started on July 22.
“Thirty percent of the samples were analysed through rapid testing,” said the Chief Secretary.
A senior Department of Health official said, “The department also started optimising the use of laboratories, and increased the number of technicians and RT-PCR machines in many laboratories. This gave us a good result.”
The recovery rate, which had been increasing consistently since July 19, stalled on Thursday. It was 70.34 per cent, marginally less than the day before.
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