The Centre has asked the West Bengal government to immediately review Covid cases and deaths and stressed the importance of ensuring Covid-safe festivities. The directive came amid a rise in Covid cases in the state.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the West Bengal health secretary on October 22 that the state had reported 20,936 new cases and 343 fresh deaths in the last 30 days, accounting for 3.4 per cent of India’s new cases and 4.7 per cent of the fresh deaths in the same period.
He expressed worry over the rise in Covid cases in Kolkata and said that the district had reported a high number of average daily new cases in the week ending on October 21, along with a more than 25 per cent increase over the past week — from 217 cases in the week ending on October 14 to 272 cases in the next week.
Bhushan also said that Kolkata had reported an almost 27 per cent increase in the positivity rate in the past week — from 5.6 per cent in the week ending October 14 to 7.1 per cent in the week ending October 21. “The weekly testing in this district are also showing a downward trend. This calls for more proactive action on the testing front,” he said.
“With the ongoing festive season, it is crucial to emphasise the importance of Covid-safe festivities to maintain the collective gains made in the battle against this pandemic so far,” the Union health secretary added.
Bhushan said that it was imperative that West Bengal ensured strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and focused on second-dose vaccination coverage of all eligible people.
Bhushan stated in the letter that cases surge exponentially in instances where the basic public health strategy of ‘testing, tracking, treatment, Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination’ is not rigorously followed.
“The current trend of increasing daily new cases and case positivity, if left unchecked, may lead to a situation where there is a severe strain on the health infrastructure and health workforce,” Bhushan said.
He said a regular review of Covid-19 cases and deaths must also be undertaken and necessary corrective measures should be promptly communicated to field teams.
“Lastly, it should also be ensured that the district maintains consistency in data updation on the Covid-19 portal,” Bhushan added.