COVID-19 deaths exceed 6,000 in Bengal as puja preparations gather pace

 thehindu.com  10/18/2020 19:57:51 

West Bengal on Sunday reported its highest single-day spike with 3,983 new COVID-19 cases taking the total case tally to 3,21,036. With 64 deaths, the States fatality count crossed the 6,000 mark to reach 6,056.

The State has added 1,000 deaths in just 18 days. The number of active cases has now increased to 33,927 while the discharge rate has dropped to 87.55%. The percentage of positive cases out of the samples tested has climbed to 8.04%.

Next week when the Durga Puja festivities will be at peak, experts have suggested that the number of COVID-19 infections might go up. There are about 37,000 community Durga Puja pandals in the State and nearly 3,000 of them are in Kolkata. Only a few pandals had heeded to the advice of doctors and said that they would not allow visitors. During the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also inaugurated a few puja pandals in the city.

Meanwhile, an open letter, posted in a public domain by the Joint Platform of Doctors West Bengal, had warned that if the celebrations during the Durga Puja were not controlled then post-festivities, there might be a tremendous rise in new cases.

We had at first written to the CM and the Chief Secretary, and then to all political parties in this regard. But we have not got any reaction from them, the letter said.

It pointed out that the rush for shopping and preparations is continuing undeterred, which can spell disaster for the people. If the situation continues in this fashion then we can gauge how swiftly the number of cases will increase in the State& So many beds will not be available at the same time in the hospitals, nor will there be enough ventilators, doctors and health workers, the letter said.

After State BJP president Dilip Ghosh tested positive for COVID-19 a couple of days ago, State Minister Nirmal Majhi tested positive on Sunday. So far, three sitting MLAs of the ruling Trinamool Congress have succumbed to the virus.

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