Bengal’s Covid-19 graph shows sharp spike, cases more than double in 1 week
The state has recorded 696 positive cases till April 27, of which 504 are active cases.Updated: Apr 27, 2020 21:10 IST
West Bengal’s graph of people testing positive for Covid-19 is sharply rising, with the number of total cases more than doubling in seven days. Earlier, the state had recorded 339 cases between March 17 and April 20, however, as many as 357 cases have been recorded in the past seven days. On Monday, 47 new Covid-19 cases were reported.
The state has recorded 696 positive cases till April 27, of which 504 are active cases.
While the state administration claimed the increase was at par with the national average, senior doctors attributed the sudden rise to the low testing rate during the early days.
Incidentally, the state that had been receiving a lot of flak over its low testing rate increased the number of daily tests conducted from April 15, when it started testing about 350 people per day on an average. The number of tests further increased from April 20, the day when incidentally, two inter-ministerial central teams reached Bengal.
While the state had conducted only 5,469 tests till April 20, another 6,574 tests were conducted in the last seven days.
“Our testing has rapidly increased. As many as 1,150 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours,” chief secretary Rajiva Sinha said on Monday evening.
“Our positive confirmation rate is at par with the national rate,” Sinha said.
Senior doctor Kunal Sarkar, however, said that the state was still not conducting enough tests. “We have to keep in mind that here we have not yet found as many asymptomatic patients as in other states. The testing rate is still low. Going by the state’s population and national testing average, Bengal needs to conduct 4,000 tests on a day on an average,” Sarkar said.
Doctor and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Fuad Halim echoed Sarkar. “The number of Covid-19 patients is increasing with the increase in the number of tests. The tests increased in the first place after I filed public interest litigation in the Calcutta high court. But, the state is still testing about four times below the national average, going by per million population,” Halim said.
West Bengal’s present population is estimated at 10 crore.
Only four of Bengal’s 23 districts are in the ‘red zone’ and, according to Sinha, 80% of the state’s cases are from the state capital of Kolkata.
The situation is improving. “Five out of 8 containment zones in East Midnapore, 13 out of 57 containment zones in North 24 Parganas, 13 out of 56 containment zones in Howrah have not reported a single case in the past two weeks,” Sinha said.
For Kolkata, however, the situation is not so hopeful. Of the 227 containment zones in the city, only 18 have not reported any case in the past two weeks.
Under this scenario, the police have started acting tough. On Sunday, Kolkata police prosecuted 163 people for not covering their faces and 26 people for spitting in public places, besides booking 554 people under the Disaster Management Act for violating the lockdown.
The police in the districts are using drone cameras and balloon cameras to identify lockdown violators, even though reports of lockdown violation, especially at various market places, came from different parts of the state even on Monday.