Expressing concern over the rising cases of Covid-19 in West Bengal, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has written to the West Bengal Health department to increase testing and take immediate steps to control the spread of the disease.
In a letter written to the State Health Secretary N S Nigam, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “West Bengal has reported 20,936 new cases and 343 new deaths in the last 30 days, accounting to 3.4% of India’s new cases and 4.7% of new deaths in last 30 days”.
“Although there has been a significant decline in the average daily new cases (15,092 in the week ending October 22 at the national level), certain districts in the country have started to show a concerning trend in daily new cases and positivity rate,” he added.
Speaking on the worrying condition in Kolkata, the Union Secretary wrote, “One of the primary districts of concern is Kolkata. The district has reported high quantum of average daily new cases in the week ending 21 October along with more than 25% increase over the past week (from 217 cases in the week ending October 14 to 272 cases in the week ending October 21)”.
Expressing concern over the rising trends in the city, Bhushan wrote, “The district 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. The weekly testing trends in this district have also decreased. This calls for more proactive action on the testing front.
The union ministry also warned the state government about not following the basic health strategy in several districts in the state.
“It has 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 increasing daily new cases, if left unchecked may lead to a situation where there is severe strain on the health infrastructure and health workforce,” he added.
The ministry asked the state to maintain the basic precautions strictly particularly in the festive season during which the chances of spreading of the disease are more likely.
“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 State must ensure strict adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour and focus on second dose coverage of all eligible beneficiaries,” Bhushan said.
“Regular review of COVID-19 cases and deaths must also be undertaken, and necessary corrective measures should be promptly communicated to the field teams. Lastly, it should also be ensured that the district maintains consistency in data updation in the Covid-19 portal,” he added.