Cyclone-ravaged Bengal records highest Covid-19 tests at 9,009 on Saturday
After testing about 8,500 tests for a few days, Bengal’s testing took a hit due to the cyclone Amphan. On March 19 and 20, it tested 8,712 and 8,722 samples, respectivelyUpdated: May 23, 2020 22:18 IST
Despite large areas in its southern part being ravaged by cyclone Amphan, Bengal on Saturday recorded its highest number of Covid-19 tests in a day, testing 9,009 samples, the state’s health department said.
After testing about 8,500 tests for a few days, Bengal’s testing took a hit due to the cyclone Amphan. On March 19 and 20, it tested 8,712 and 8,722 samples, respectively. However, after the storm devastated large swathes of south Bengal on May 20, the count almost halved to 4,242 tests on Thursday before regaining some ground on Friday with 5,355 tests.
“We have been steadily increasing the number of tests over the past three weeks. Testing got hit over the last two days as those who work in the laboratories could not reach their workplaces. Special arrangements were made to ensure the labs worked in their full strength and we got the result on Saturday,” said a senior health department official who did not want to be named.
Bengal’s low testing rate – one of the poorest among the major states in testing per million population – had triggered a massive controversy in April but the state, from the first week of May, started improving the number of tests.
On Saturday, the state reported that the testing per million of population had increased to 1,440. In contrast on May 4, Bengal’s figure for testing per million stood at only 279. The national average, as of May 22, is slightly below 2,000 tests per day.
“Bengal is improving very fast and I am hopeful that the state will soon catch up with the national average,” said public health expert Rezaul Karim.
As on May 23, Bengal has conducted 129,608 tests. Till May 4, the state had tested only 25,116 samples.
The state also reported 127 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, taking the tally to 3,332. Out of this, 1,281 have recovered and have been discharged. Bengal has attributed 197 deaths to Covid-19 and 72 deaths to co-morbidity.