COVID-19 Cases on the Rise in Bengal, Centre Asks State Govt to Review Situation
Experts warned that Bengal will see a spike in the coming weeks as COVID-19 norms were flouted during Durga Puja.
The Centre has taken note and pulled up the West Bengal government for the rising COVID-19 cases in Kolkata following huge gatherings on the streets during Durga Puja celebrations earlier this month.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to West Bengal Health Secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam on 22 October saying that Kolkata was one of the "certain districts in the country that have started showing a worrying trend in daily new cases and positivity rate in recent weeks."
"With the ongoing festive season, it is crucial to emphasise the importance of COVID safety activities in order to maintain the collective gains made in the battle against the pandemic so far," Mr Bhushan wrote. He also added that necessary corrective measures need to be identified and promptly communicated to the field teams and data must be updated regularly.
Experts have already warned that West Bengal will see a spike in the coming weeks as COVID-19 norms have been largely flouted during the recent Durga Puja celebrations. When the daily infection rate in Kolkata before the pujas was hovering around 600, on Saturday it hit 974.
Not only in Kolkata, the infection rate is showing an upward curve in several districts. According to an official of the state health department, the positivity rate in Cooch Behar is 8.7 percent, in East Medinipur it is around 5 percent, in Nadia it is 4.2 percent, and in Howrah and Hooghly it is hovering around 2 to 2.5 percent when before the pujas it was just above one percent.
According to an IANS report, COVID beds in most of the premiere private hospitals in the city are either occupied or are nearly full. Belle View Nursing Home – one of the premiere nursing homes in the city – has 47 beds, of which 23 are already occupied. Before the pujas the number of occupancy was just 10. Similarly, Calcutta Medical Research Institute has all its 38 beds full and Peerless hospital has 40 occupied out of 40 beds. In ILS multi-speciality hospital, 27 COVID beds out of the total 38 are occupied and the administration expects that the rest of the beds will be full soon.
Considering the rising cases of COVID in the state particularly in areas in and around Kolkata like in districts like Howrah, Hooghly and North and South 24 Parganas the state has already announced micro-containment zones in several areas of Howrah, Hooghly, and North 24 Parganas. Chief secretary HK Dwivedi held a virtual meeting with all the district magistrates and asked them to keep a strict watch on the COVID cases in districts. They have also been asked to impose 'containment zones' in areas where the rate is high.
"There was all-round laxity during Durga Puja, which is likely to push the situation out of bounds unless we immediately re-impose strict COVID-19 norms within people and increase the rate of testing and vaccination in the state," a senior physician in the state and one of the members of the global advisory committee created by the state government said.
(With inputs from IANS and NDTV)
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