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Covid Positivity Rate On The Rise In West Bengal, Mamata To Take Stock Soon

Reports said that several districts in West Bengal had seen a rise in death toll and positivity rate.
A healthcare worker is seen spraying a disinfectant inside a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata in a file photo.
SOPA Images via Getty Images
A healthcare worker is seen spraying a disinfectant inside a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata in a file photo.

Days after the Durga Puja festivities ended, the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in West Bengal is worrying the Mamata Banerjee government.

The rising death toll in some districts, coupled with people not even wearing masks in many places, has the administration anxious, say news reports.

While the number of active cases dropped for two days in a row in the state, the test positivity rate has increased steadily over the past month.

Amid concerns over the aftermath of Durga Puja celebrations, experts have said that lowered active cases shouldn’t mean the administration can be complacent.

Positivity rate has increased in West Bengal

The rate of people testing positive has only risen in West Bengal in the last one month. Exactly a month ago, on September 28 it was at 7.98%. By October 15 it rose to 8.01% and in the last 24 hours the positivity rate was 8.17%, according to the government’s daily bulletins.

Rising death toll has authorities worried

Authorities are also concerned about the rising death toll and positivity rates in some areas of the state.

Anandabazar Patrika said that both the infection and death rate had increased in 12 districts, according to an internal report of the West Bengal health department.

The Bengali newspaper said that the report for the week of 20-26 October showed that the case positive rate in Kolkata rose from 19.06% to 21.43%.

The increased positivity rate was recorded in other districts too — West Midnapore (14.60%), Jalpaiguri (12.41%), East Midnapore (10.72%), Nadia (9.50%), Howrah (8.60%), Darjeeling (8.17%), Malda (7.47%), South 24 Parganas (6.44%), East Burdwan (5.50%), Birbhum (5.48%) and Murshidabad (5.44%).

Lakshmi puja worry in the hills

While Darjeeling is one of the districts where the number of cases are on the rise, officials have raised an alert ahead of Lakshmi Puja on October 30.

Usually priests go from house to house performing the pujas for different families.

The Telegraph reported that officials have advised priests to get a Covid-19 test done before they perform the pujas.

North 24-Parganas’s mask problem

Senior health officials have told the district administration that people in the area were refusing to wear masks and this could lead to an increase in infections from the novel coronavirus.

The Telegraph reported that health department officials have told officers of North 24-Parganas to begin enforcing wearing of masks with the help of the police. They said people may have to be booked if they don’t comply.

Mamata to take stock of situation

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to hold a virtual meeting with officials and ministers on November 5 to take stock of the Covid-19 situation after Durga Puja.

PTI reported that all ministers, district magistrates, SPs and officials in the district health departments are likely to be present at the virtual meeting to review the Covid-19 situation post the festival in the districts and also to take stock of the post-Amphan relief measures.

“The chief minister conducts two half-yearly review meetings with ministers and the senior officers of all the departments, the DMs, SDOs and BDOs where she takes a detailed progress report but this year because of Covid there was no such meeting. So the chief minister decided to take stock of the developmental work and also give a roadmap for the next three months,” an official told PTI.

The health department has been asked to prepare a detailed report on the Covid-situation in the districts and the measures taken to contain the spread of the disease in the post puja days, he added.

“Not only that the districts will also have to give a detailed report on the progress of the developmental projects that has been announced by the chief minister in the last few months,” a senior state government official told the news agency.

(With PTI inputs)

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This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost India, which closed in 2020. Some features are no longer enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this article, please contact indiasupport@huffpost.com.