COVID-19: Centre asks West Bengal to immediately undertake a review of cases, deaths



NEW DELHI: Amid rise in COVID-19 cases in West Bengal, the Centre has asked the state government to immediately undertake a review of cases and deaths, and stressed on the importance of ensuring Covid-safe festivities.

In a letter to the West Bengal health secretary, issued on October 22, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the state has 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 fresh deaths in the same period.

Expressing concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases in Kolkata, he said the district has reported high quantum of average daily new cases in the week ending October 21 along with more than 25 per cent increase over the past week — from 217 cases in the week ending October 14 to 272 cases in the week ending October 21.

Kolkata has also reported almost 27 per cent increase in 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, Bhushan said.

“The weekly testing trends 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 in order to maintain the collective gains made in the battle against this pandemic so far,” the Union health secretary said.

The state must ensure strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and focus on second dose vaccination coverage of all eligible beneficiaries, Bhushan said.

He said it has also been observed that cases surge exponentially in instances where basic public health strategy “testing, tracking, treatment, Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination’ is not followed rigorously. “The current trends of increasing daily new cases and case positivity, if left unchecked may lead to a situation where there is severe strain on health infrastructure and health workforce,” Bhushan said.

He said 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 up-dation in the COVID-19 portal,” Bhushan added.

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