Minister Suvendu Adhikari among new patients in Bengal
Bengal’s transport and irrigation minister Suvendu Adhikari, deemed a key leader in the topmost tier of Trinamul, and his mother tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday night.
They are among the 3,190 new Covid-19 cases that Bengal reported in 24 hours till Friday 9am. Bengal also logged 59 deaths and 2,978 recoveries on Friday.
Adhikari, 49, who is mildly symptomatic, has gone on home isolation. His mother, septuagenarian Gayatri Adhikari, is hospitalised in Calcutta.
A member of the apex seven-member steering committee of the ruling party, Adhikari got tested along with several members of his joint family, which has several elected representatives, including two MPs, after a nephew tested positive. On Thursday night, results revealed that both the minister and his mother are infected.
“Rapid antigen tests for both were positive on Thursday afternoon. After that, RT-PCR tests were conducted, which were conclusively positive. He (Adhikari) has been in home isolation, consulting physicians on whether anything more needs to be done, given his mild symptoms,” said a cabinet colleague.
Adhikari is the fifth member of the Mamata Banerjee cabinet to get infected after ministers Jyotipriya Mullick, Sujit Bose, Swapan Debnath and Soumen Mahapatra.
“Suvendu (Adhikari) has been on the ground, leading from the front, through the pandemic. He did a lot of work with the people in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan as well…. Such public representatives are more susceptible to the pathogen,” said a Trinamul leader.
With the 3,190 new cases, the state’s total case count went past 2.41 lakh, of which over 2.11 lakh are recoveries, besides 4,665 deaths.
Bengal’s recovery rate continued to rise and reached 87.54, ahead of the national rate of 81.74 per cent.
Of the 59 deaths, 19 were from North 24-Parganas and six from Calcutta.
As of Friday, the state government reported 3,982 or 85.4 per cent as deaths with co-morbidity “present”.
Bengal’s overall mortality rate is now 1.93, behind the national rate of 1.58 per cent.
The state logged 43,815 tests on Friday, which took the total past 30.11 lakh, at 33,464 tests per million people. The positive confirmation rate has dropped from 8.9 on August 23 to 8 per cent now.
The state reported 35.46 per cent occupancy of 12,675 Covid-19 beds in 92 hospitals.
Over 2.54 lakh telemedicine consultations have been provided, 4,135 of them in the past 24 hours.
So far, over 20 sitting members of the Bengal Assembly, half of from the ruling party, have been infected by the novel coronavirus.
Four Bengal MPs, the BJP’s Locket Chatterjee (Hooghly), Sukanta Majumdar (Balurghat) and Jayanta Roy (Jalpaiguri), and Trinamul’s Rajya Sabha member Shanta Chhetri, have also tested positive.
The virus claimed the lives of CPM veteran Shyamal Chakraborty, Trinamul’s MLAs Samaresh Das and Tamonash Ghosh.