On Tuesday, Federal Health Minister Rajesh Bhushan expressed his concerns about the spike in coronavirus cases and deaths recorded in the state over the past 30 days, to his West Bengal counterpart Narayan Swaroop Nigam. Bhushan has identified Kolkata as one of the main areas of concern, with its average daily case count and weekly positivity rate increasing in the past few weeks.

This comes a day after Nigam told News18 that there is already an increase and all necessary steps are being taken to prevent the virus from spreading further. “We have set up different safe houses and announced containment areas in different places as we have noticed that the cases are on a higher side,” he said.

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In his letter, Buchan warned, “If left unchecked, this could lead to a situation where there is severe stress on the health infrastructure and health workforce.” On Monday, the state reported 805 new infections, 184 fewer than the number of viruses recorded the day before.

The union health minister noted there was a 25 per cent increase in average daily cases – from 217 in the week ending October 14 to 272 the following week. The test positivity rate rose 5.6 percent in the week ending October 14 to 7.1 percent a week later.

Buchan stressed the need for safe ceremonies to preserve the gains made in the pandemic so far. “The state must ensure strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behavior and focus on second-dose coverage for all eligible recipients.”

He said that a regular review of Covid-19 cases and deaths should also be carried out, and necessary corrective actions should be communicated immediately to field teams. “Finally, it must also be ensured that the district maintains consistency in updating data in the Covid-19 portal,” Buchan added.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday claimed that the new cases of coronavirus in the state are mostly among those who have been fully vaccinated, but their immunity after taking both doses did not exceed six months. I directed the state’s Minister of Health to discuss the matter with the center and seek to find out the reasons for this.

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