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Positivity rate jumps to 5.47 per cent

As Covid cases rise, Bengal suspends flights from UK

State registers more than 2,000 cases after six months, nearly double the ones reported on Wednesday

Our Bureau, PTI Calcutta Published 30.12.21, 08:14 PM
Representative image

Representative image File picture

The West Bengal government said on Thursday it is suspending all direct flights from the UK and those emanating from other high-risk countries from January 3, amid growing scare over the rise in number of Covid cases of the omicron variant, an official said.

State's Home Secretary B P Gopalika wrote to the Union civil aviation ministry informing it about the state's decision due to the rising number of patients detected with the omicron strain of the contagion. West Bengal has so far reported 11 cases of the omicron variant.


"In view of the rising number of omicron cases globally and as well as within the country, the state government has decided to temporarily and until further orders suspended all direct flights from United Kingdom to Kolkata from January 3, 2022."

Flights, which is an at risk country as notified notified by MOHFW, Government of India, will not be allowed in the state and any NOCs which have been issued stand withdrawn," he wrote in a letter to Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Kolkata's tally of new COVID-19 infections more than doubled in 24 hours as the metropolis reported 1,090 cases on Thursday, as per the state Health Department.

The city reported 540 new cases on Wednesday, it said.

West Bengal registered more than 2,000 cases after nearly six months as the state reported 2,128 new infections.

It was nearly double the cases reported on Wednesday when 1,089 infections were detected, and more than four times that reported on last Thursday -- 516.

The state's positivity rate jumped to 5.47 per cent, from 2.84 per cent on Wednesday.

West Bengal has so far reported 16,35,034 Covid -19 cases.

The state also registered 12 more deaths, taking the toll to 19,757.

Four of the latest deaths happened in Kolkata, two each in North 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Darjeeling, and one each in South 24 Parganas and Paschim Medinipur.

In the last 24 hours, 1,067 people recovered from the disease. So far, 16,06,501 people have been cured of COVID-19 in the state.

There are 8,776 active cases in West Bengal at present.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said coronavirus-related restrictions cannot be imposed everywhere as they may impact the economy as has been the case since the onset of the pandemic.

Speaking to reporters while visiting the Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district where the annual Ganga Sagar Mela will begin next month, Banerjee said COVID-19 cases in Kolkata were rising as it was a transit point for people travelling on trains and flights.

"Most omicron cases are being detected among people coming on flights from the UK. It's a fact that the omicron carriers are coming via international flights. The Centre must decide on imposing restrictions on flights from countries where omicron cases are high," she said.

Banerjee said that her government was reviewing the emerging pandemic situation "seriously" and hinted that a decision will be taken regarding restriction, taking the economy into account.

"We have to look after the safety and security of the people. We will soon make a decision. We will target places where the cases are going up. We cannot impose restrictions everywhere because that may affect the economy as it has in the last two years," she said.

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