Covid-19: Centre says Kolkata primary district of concern in West Bengal
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday wrote to his West Bengal counterpart Narayan Swaroop Nigam expressing concerns over the new coronavirus cases and deaths registered in the eastern state in the last 30 days.
Bhushan said one of the primary districts of concern was Kolkata where there was a “worrying trend with respect to cases” and a “concerning rise in positivity rate”.
The Centre's letter came days after Durga Puja festivities, celebrated with pomp across the state, came to an end with several experts raising concerns over scant regard being paid to social distancing norms and other Covid-appropriate protocol. And, there has been a minor but gradual spike in case since the celebrations came to an end. On Monday, the state reported 805 new infections, which was, however, 184 less than the virus count registered on the previous day.
The current trends, if left unchecked, may lead to a situation where there could be a severe strain on the health infrastructure and workforce, the Union health secretary warned.
In his letter, Bhushan said Kolkata reported a high quantum of average daily cases in the week ending October 21 with more than 25 per cent increase in tally when compared to the previous week -- from 217 cases in the week ending October 14 to 272 infections the next week.
The district also registered about 27 per cent rise in positivity rate in the past week -- from 5.6 per cent in the week ending October 14 to 7.1 per cent a week later.
The weekly testing trends in the district were also showing a downward trend, Bhushan said, while urging more proactive action in this regard.
Regarding the overall pandemic situation in Bengal, the Central government representative said the state reported 20,936 cases and 343 related deaths in the last 30 days, accounting for 3.4 per cent of the total infections nationally and 4.7 per cent fatalities, respectively.
The Centre said an exponential surge in infections can be in instances where the basic public health strategy of testing, tracking, treating, vaccinating and following Covid-appropriate behaviour are not followed.
Bhushan said that with the ongoing festive season, it is crucial to emphasise the importance of implementing Covid-safe behaviour to maintain the collective gains made in the battle against the pandemic.
The Centre further urged the state to undertake regular review of cases and deaths and ensure that districts maintain consistency in updating data in the Covid-19 portal.