Trinamul MLA among 3,161 new Covid cases in Bengal
Trinamul’s Pandaveswar MLA Jitendra Tiwari on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19, along with two of his aides, to become part of the 3,161 new cases detected in the 24-hour window till Saturday 9am.
On Saturday, Bengal also reported 3,042 recoveries and 59 deaths, of which 12 died in Calcutta and 16 in North 24-Parganas.
Tiwari, 46, also the Asansol mayor, had been a part of the 45-minute session in the Assembly on Wednesday, where chief minister Mamata Banerjee was present along with many in her cabinet and hundreds of legislators, staff members and journalists.
The MLA is among over 20 sitting members of the Assembly who have so far been infected with Covid-19, half from the ruling party.
“He became symptomatic a couple of days ago with fever. He got tested yesterday (Friday). Because he is only mildly symptomatic now, he is on self-isolation,” said a source in the government.
“We are carrying out contact-tracing and alerting everyone. Some of those in the party and in the government who came in close contact with him have already gone on self-isolation,” the source added.
On Wednesday, Jalangi’s Congress-backed CPM MLA Abdur Razzak Mandal — who defected to Trinamul last year — and a security guard assigned to him had tested positive in the Assembly.
The pandemic infected at least four members of the Bengal state cabinet, including ministers Jyotipriya Mullick, Sujit Bose, Swapan Debnath and Soumen Mahapatra. The pathogen also claimed the lives of CPM veteran and former transport minister Shyamal Chakraborty, Trinamul’s Egra MLA Samaresh Das and Falta MLA Tamonash Ghosh.
The state’s total case count now is over 1.99 lakh, of which 1.72 lakh are recoveries and 3,887 are deaths. Bengal’s recovery rate now is 86.26, substantially better than the 77.88 per cent national rate. But the state’s mortality rate is 1.94 per cent, worse than the national rate of 1.65 per cent.
As of Saturday, the state government reported 3,333 or 85.7 per cent as deaths with comorbidity “present”.
The state logged a new high of 47,131 tests on Saturday, which took the total past 24 lakh, to 24,22,740 tests, at 26,919 tests per million people.
From early February, Bengal took over three-and-a-half months to conduct 1 lakh tests. Over the next three-and-a-half months, it conducted over 23 lakh tests. “In just 12 days of September so far, we conducted over 5.35 lakh tests. We have, on an average, been conducting a lakh tests every two days now,” said a minister.
Steady rise in tests, coupled with relatively lower cases being found, has improved the positive confirmation rate after August 23, from 8.9 to 8.23 per cent. A decreasing positive confirmation rate indicates reducing levels of Covid-19 spread. The state reported 32.98 per cent occupancy of 12,675 Covid-19 beds in 92 hospitals. Telemedicine services have been given to over 2 lakh, 4,213 of them in the past 24 hours.