Bucking recent trends, Bengal on Monday reported 19,286 fresh Covid-19 cases, 5,001 fewer than the previous day, raising the tally to 17,74,332, the health department said.
On Sunday, the state had conducted 71,664 samples, which on Monday came down to 51,675, showing a rise in the positivity rate. Bengal's positivity rate was 33.89 per cent on Sunday and it went up to be at 37.32 per cent in 24 hours. Medical experts warned that the drop by a fifth in a single day should not be read as a sign the current wave of the pandemic had subsided.
"The lesser number of daily cases reported here on Monday is not any sign of relief for us. You will notice that the number of cases has gone up despite a lower number of sample testing. It shows that the positivity rate has gone up. So, the situation has actually deteriorated," Dr Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, Associate Professor of Burdwan Medical College told local media.
He added the way to get a correct fix was to increase the number of sample testing. On Sunday, Kolkata had reported an all-time high of 8,712 new cases, this too came down to 5,556 cases on Monday. Bengal's overall Covid-19 tally rose to 17,74,332 on Monday, the health department said. There were 16 more deaths reported in the last 24 hours, pushing the toll to 19,917, it added.
While the city accounted for four cases, South 24 Parganas (3), and two each in North 24 Parganas and Paschim Bardhaman districts and the rest from other districts, the bulletin said. At least 8,187 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours even as the discharge rate continued slipping further to 93.85 per cent. So far, 16,65,221 people have recovered from the disease in the state.
The number of active cases, however, increased by 11,083 to 89,194, the bulletin said. Officials also said that some 35,081 booster doses were administered in the state. "We have administered 9,64,179 doses today. In the 15-17 years' age group 2,49,498 doses have been administered," he said.
Meanwhile, with five districts in West Bengal witnessing a huge surge in Covid-19 cases, the West Bengal government on Monday asked officials in these vulnerable districts, to strictly enforce Covid restrictions and speed up vaccinations to arrest the disturbing trend.
Chief secretary HK Dwivedi, held a virtual meeting with the district administrators of Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Birbhum on Monday to stress the need to be more vigilant, officials said. Dwivedi directed officials to earmark areas reporting more Covid-19 cases as 'containment or micro containment' zones to cap the rise of transmission, he added.
"He has instructed them to strictly deal with those found violating Covid-19 safety norms. Wearing masks has been made mandatory for everyone," the official said. The Chief Secretary also directed the district administration to speed up the vaccination program and ensure that those "waiting for second doses are administered without any delay".
Besides, Kolkata which had the lion's share of Covid cases reporting 5,556 cases on Monday, North 24 Parganas which houses many of Kolkata's satellite towns and IT hub of Salt lake city came in a close second with 4,297 cases. The industrial districts of Howrah and Hooghly together accounted for a total of 2,559 cases.
With inputs from PTI.