West Bengal on Tuesday became the seventh state to have recorded more than one lakh Covid-19 infections as 2,931 new cases, among them state minister Swapan Debnath, took the case count to 1,01,390.
The state recorded its first Covid-19 case on March 17, taking 21 weeks to reach the one-lakh mark. While the first 50,000 cases were added in 128 days, the remaining were recorded in just 20 days.
More than 70 per cent of the cases, and 90 per cent of the 2,149 fatalities have occurred in the South Bengal epicentre comprising Kolkata; its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah; and Hooghly.
Among these districts in the infection hotspot, Kolkata and North 24 Parganas have borne the brunt of the pandemic. A number of high-profile politicians have been admitted to hospitals in the capital after contracting the virus. Swapan Debnath, the minister of state for Textile and MSME who tested positive on Tuesday, had been unwell for a few days. The 69-year-old MLA from Purbasthali Dakshin in Bardhaman was admitted to the Beliaghata ID Hospital here.
Earlier, Fire Minister Sujit Basu had tested positive. He recovered after treatment. Trinamool Congress MLA Tamonash Ghosh and CPI(M) leader Shyamal Chakroborty, however, were not as lucky. While Ghosh succumbed to the virus in June, Chakraborty died last week.
Outside the epicentre, North Bengal and the Medinipur administrative division have recorded a significant chunk of cases. While the eight districts in the north have reported 14 per cent of the cases, Medinipur has contributed to six per cent of the caseload.
The active cases in Purba Medinipur district, where the situation has been alarming since the beginning of the month, increased to 1,226 on Tuesday. It is over half of the division’s active caseload. Jhargram district, which had become Covid-19-free for the fourth time last month, has also seen cases increase in this period. Its active caseload was up to 61 on Tuesday.
In North Bengal, Darjeeling district saw its active caseload fall to 699, while Malda again became the district with the highest number of patients (749), reporting 117 cases on Tuesday.
Of the states that have reported more than one lakh cases, West Bengal has the third highest recovery rate of 72.39 per cent. It is eclipsed only by Delhi, where the recovery rate is 89.81 per cent, and Tamil Nadu, which has a discharge rate of 81.21 per cent.
According to the health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 3,067 patients were discharged on Tuesday, taking the cumulative number of recovered patients to 73,395. This was the second straight day that over 3,000 people were declared recovered. North Bengal leads the recovery charts with a discharge rate of 75 per cent, followed closely by the epicentre, where 74 per cent of the patients have been declared free of the disease.
The state health authorities have stepped up testing since July 29, following instructions from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. On Tuesday, the state health department reported that a record 27,015 tests were conducted in 24 hours.
This was the first time more than 27,000 samples were examined. Due to this increase in testing, the test positivity rate has also gone up, and on Tuesday it was 8.75 per cent.
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