Updated: July 22, 2020 9:48:05 am
On a day West Bengal’s Covid-19 toll mounted to 1,182 with 35 more deaths, and 2,261 new cases pushed the state’s tally to 47,030, the government issued an order imposing lockdown across the state on July 23, 25 and 29.
“It is hereby notified that statewide lockdown shall be observed on Thursday, July 23; Saturday, July 25; and Wednesday, July 29, from 6 am to 10 pm on each day.”
The order reiterated that the lockdown in containment zones would be in place till July 31, adding, “In view of the current situation of spread of Covid-19, it is felt necessary to enforce stricter lockdown measures.”
During lockdown, all government and private offices, commercial establishments, public and private transport would remain closed. Only movement related to health services, pharmacies, police stations, courts, correctional services, fire and emergency services, electricity, water and other utility services would function.
The government said conservancy services, continuous process industries and industries with in-house workers, agriculture operations, tea gardens, intrastate and interstate movements of goods, e-commerce, capital and debt market services as notified by SEBI, print, electronic and social media, and home delivery of cooked food might also function.
Keeping with the established pattern, More than 70% of the latest infections, and all the deaths were recorded in the South Bengal hotspot comprising Kolkata; its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, Howrah and South 24 Parganas; and Hooghly.
In North Bengal, another area of concern, most of the new cases were reported from Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, and Jalpaiguri.
Dakshin Dinajpur, which had been seeing a surge over the past couple of weeks, saw its active caseload drop by 35 to 433. Malda, which has the highest caseload in the region, reported 59 infections, but saw 58 patients recover. Another piece of good news came from Jhargram, which became free of Covid-19 for the fourth time since the pandemic began.
Due to the surge in infections, the state’s active caseload Tuesday neared 18,000, settling at 17,813. Though a record 1,617 patients were discharged, the recovery rate climbed marginally to 59.61 per cent. It was the fight straight record release of patients, and took the total number to 28,035.
A couple of senior doctors in the state blamed people’s casual approach to lockdown guidelines and quarantine norms for this high caseload, and welcomed the government’s new lockdown strategy.
Admitting that community transmission of the virus had been detected in a few pockets of the state, surgical oncologist Dr Diptendra Sarkar said the “two-day total lockdown across the state will help the administration tackle the situation to a considerable extent”.
“In several areas, where contact tracing is not possible, community transmission has been detected. But that does not mean that community transmission has happened in the entire state,” he added.
Senior physician Dr Syamasis Bandyopadhyay said, “There are family members of Covid-19 patients who have not submitted their samples for examination. Some have also violated quarantine norms. These are major reasons for community transmission.”
According to the state health bulletin, in which figures are updated till 9 am, 13,064 tests were conducted in 24 hours, taking the cumulative number of samples examined to 7,29,429. The test positivity rate is a high 6.45%.
(With PTI inputs)
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