Kolkata sees Covid spurt after Durga Puja rush, health ministry flags it to Bengal govt – ThePrint

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Representational image of a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata | Photo: ANI

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New Delhi: Days after Kolkata saw massive crowds descending on the roads during Durga Puja festivities, the Modi government has written to the West Bengal government asking it to take note of the rising cases of Covid in the city, and immediately undertake a review of cases and deaths.

In a letter dated 22 October, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan flagged an increase in case numbers in Kolkata, as well as a rise in test positivity rate and dip in test numbers.

“The district has reported high quantum of average daily new cases in the week ending 21 October along with more than 25 per cent increase over the past week (from 217 cases in the week ending 14 October to 271 cases in the week ending 21 October)… The district has also reported almost 27 per cent increase in positivity rate in the past week (from 5.6 per cent in the week ending 14 October to 7.1 per cent in the week ending 21 October). The weekly testing trends in this district are also showing a downward trend. This calls for more proactive action on the testing front,” read the letter.

Durga Puja was celebrated from 12-15 October this year. Officials say that even though the state government had put in place regulations on crowd control and mask use, there seems to have been rampant violations of both.

West Bengal has reported 20,936 cases and 343 deaths in the last 30 days, accounting for 3.4 per cent of India’s new cases and 4.7 per cent of deaths in the same period. However, the central government’s letter pertains only to Kolkata.

The health secretary said there is a possibility of cases rising exponentially if the basic public health strategy of testing, tracking, treatment, Covid-appropriate behaviour, and vaccination is not followed rigorously.

“With the ongoing festive season it is crucial to emphasise the importance of Covid-safe festivities in order to maintain the collective gains made in the battle against the pandemic so far. The state must ensure strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and focus on 2nd-dose coverage of all eligible beneficiaries,” Bhushan wrote.

27% fully vaccinated

About 27 per cent of West Bengal’s adults are fully vaccinated and 72.1 per cent people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data available with the health ministry.

Daily Covid cases in the state have shown a steady uptick since 16 October when 443 fresh cases were reported. The number touched 989 on 24 October. It went down slightly to 805 Monday. With 2,001 active cases, Kolkata has the highest disease burden in the state.

According to the latest Covid bulletin of the state government, 2.95 per cent of the hospital beds earmarked for the disease are currently occupied, while 6,547 people are under home isolation. The state has a total of 23,947 Covid beds in 203 dedicated hospitals.

Of the 19,066 deaths in West Bengal since the beginning of the pandemic, the highest — 41.6 per cent — have been in the 61-75 year age group, followed by 26.3 per cent in the 46-60 age bracket, and 22.2 per cent among the 75-plus age group. Among the deceased, two-thirds are males.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)

Also read: Shutdowns, debts, layoffs: Bengal tanners pushed to the edge say 3rd Covid wave will finish us

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Source: https://theprint.in/health/kolkata-sees-covid-spurt-after-durga-puja-rush-health-ministry-flags-it-to-bengal-govt/756846/