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COVID-19 fatality rate, fresh cases declining in Bengal, says official

COVID-19 fatality rate, fresh cases declining in Bengal, says official
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Kolkata: West Bengal is witnessing a declining trend of COVID-19 fatality rate and the number of fresh cases in the past few days as all precautionary measures to contain the spread of the disease are in place, a health department official said on Thursday.

The constant fall in fatality and infection rates proves that the COVID-19 situation in the state has improved, health secretary N K Nigam said.

His comment came after the Centre has asked West Bengal and three other states - Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh- to maintain a "strict vigil" and take steps to curb the recent spike.

"The fatality rate and the number of new cases have come down drastically. The daily number of infections is below 1,000 and every day there is a decline in the number of deaths due to the disease. Though, we are very cautious. All precautionary measures are in place," Nigam told PTI.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the four states to draw their attention "to the low and declining testing rates in the states, stating that any laxity at this crucial junction may squander the results of our collective actions in containing the transmission", according to a statement issued by the ministry.

"These states are reporting an upsurge in the number of daily new cases in the recent days. The states have been advised to maintain a strict vigil and to take steps to keep a check on the rising cases, especially in view of the new strain of the virus being observed in certain countries which has also been reported in a few states in India," the Union health ministry letter said.

The health authorities in the four states have also been advised to proactively promote wearing of masks and other COVID-19-appropriate behaviours while the vaccination drive is about to begin, it said.

The Centre also mentioned that the four states comprise 59 per cent of the total active cases in the country.

The COVID-19 tally in West Bengal mounted to 5,58,173 as 921 more people tested positive for the disease on Thursday, while 18 fresh fatalities pushed the death toll to 9,881, the state health department said in a bulletin.

The state had reported 868 new cases and 22 fatalities due to the infection on Wednesday.

The recovery rate among coronavirus patients in the state improved marginally to 96.71 per cent from 96.64 per cent recorded on January 6.

At least 1,295 people were cured of the disease since Wednesday, taking the total number of recoveries to 5,39,816.

Nigam said the recovery rate in the state is better than the national average of 96.36 per cent.

West Bengal now has 8,476 active cases.

Kolkata accounted for six fresh fatalities, followed by North 24 Parganas (4), Hooghly and Howrah (three each), Paschim Bardhaman and Bankura (one each).

The eastern metropolis also reported the maximum number of new cases at 240, followed by North 24 Parganas at 223, the bulletin said.

The state has so far conducted 73,36,021 sample tests, for COVID-19, including 35,867 in the last 24 hours, it added.

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