• Monday, Jun 21, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:59 am

West Bengal under complete lockdown as Covid situation worsens

  • Published at 08:49 pm May 16th, 2021
West Bengal
Migrant workers board an overcrowded bus to return to their cities and villages after the West Bengal state government imposed a partial lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus, in Kolkata on May 6, 2021 Reuters

The number of new infections has grown by an average of 1.9% every day in the last week

The neighbouring Indian state has gone under a complete lockdown for two weeks from Sunday with the region reporting its biggest spike yet in deaths and infections.

West Bengal registered 144 deaths due to Covid-19 on Sunday, the highest so far in a single day, pushing the toll to 13,317. 

It accounted for 19,511 of India's 311,170 new cases and hospitals in the state say they are swamped with patients.

The region saw its biggest spike in new infections on Friday, when 20,846 cases were recorded. On Saturday, the state, which held elections last month, ordered the lockdown till May 30.

All government and private offices, except emergency services, remain closed. Public transport, inter-state bus services and movement of private vehicles, taxis and auto rickshaws have been suspended.

The state also imposed a night curfew from 9pm to 5am, prohibiting all outdoor activities, except emergency needs.

West Bengal along with a host of southern states are bearing the brunt of a Covid-19 surge in India that has taken the nation's infection total to nearly 25 million with more than 265,000 deaths.

As many 11,499 out of every 1 million people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus. For every 100 confirmed cases, 12 are currently infected.

In the last one week, the number of new infections has grown by an average of 1.9% every day.

Meanwhile, for every 1 million people, 126,400 samples were tested. Test positivity rate is 9.8% and recovery rate in the state stands at 7.42%.

The worst situation in the state is in Kolkata and North 24 Parganas.

Bodies dumped in Ganges

Bodies of Covid victims have been found dumped in some Indian rivers, Reuters reported citing a state government letter, the first official acknowledgement of an alarming practice it said may stem from poverty and fear of the disease in villages.

Images of corpses drifting down the Ganges river, which Hindus consider holy, have shocked a nation reeling under the world's worst surge in infections.

Although the media have linked the recent increase in the numbers of such bodies to the pandemic, the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, home to 240 million people, has until now not publicly revealed the cause of the deaths.

Corpses floating in the Ganga have also become a cause of headaches in West Bengal. State administration has prepared an action plan to handle the situation.

The districts over which the Ganges flows have also been warned.

The district administration has been asked to come up with a plan to find out whether any bodies are floating in the Ganges from Jharkhand district. Boats, nets and bamboo have been asked to be ready and prepared.

All the administrative officials of Malda have been asked to find a place along the river so that the bodies can be buried there.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew tens of thousands of people to rallies in the region last month ahead of state elections in which his ruling nationalist party failed to unseat chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata also staged major rallies ahead of the polls and on Friday her brother died from coronavirus in hospital.

Experts have described the election campaigns as “super-spreader.”

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