NEWS
07/05/2020 12:41 PM IST | Updated 07/05/2020 12:42 PM IST

West Bengal: 91,515 Influenza Like Cases Found Through Door-To-Door Surveillance; 4 More Covid-19 Deaths

It was also found that 872 cases of persons had Severe Acute Respiratory Illness.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Bags kept as placeholders in circles marking social distance in a queue to collect essential food grains from a fair price shop in Entally on May 5, 2020 in Kolkata, India. 

The death toll in West Bengal from Covid-19 went up to 144 on Thursday, according to the Union health ministry website. It said that the total number of cases in Bengal was at 1,456. 

The state government, meanwhile, continued to say in the bulletin the deaths linked “directly” to Covid-19 was at 72, and there were 72 deaths from co-morbidities. 

On Wednesday said that in the last 24 hours there were 112 new cases, taking the number of active cases in the state to 1,047. 

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee took to Facebook to share insights from the door-to-door surveillance that the state carried out it had found over 95,000 cases of Influenza-like Illness that were found in the state. 

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to Bengal’s chief secretary Rajiva Sinha over “specific groups” flouting lockdown norms in the state, citing an incident of attack on the police in a minority dominated area. 

Door-to-door surveillance

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee shared the results of a door-to-door surveillance carried out by the state government to identify Severe Acute Respiratory Illness ( SARI ) & Influenza-like Illness (ILI). 

She said, “During the period of 7th April to 3rd May, 5.57 Cr+ total household visits have been conducted. 872 cases of persons with SARI and 91,515 cases of persons with ILI have been identified and given necessary health advice. 375 people have also been admitted to different health facilities. 62 of them have tested positive for COVID-19 with the affected being treated at our Hospitals,” she said. 

The surveillance efforts were still being carried out in the state. 

The chief minister said that this was done by 60,000 specially trained ASHA and health workers. 

War of words over Modi govt letter

In the scathing letter, Bhalla said that the pandemic was being poorly managed in Bengal with low testing, high mortality and lockdown violations “like overcrowding in markets, people playing cricket and bathing in rivers”. 

This is the second such letter from the Narendra Modi government. The first had been written earlier this week by Apurva Chandra who had led the inter-ministerial team in Bengal. 

“The response to COVID-19 in the state of West Bengal is characterised by a very low rate of testing in proportion to the population, and a very high late of mortality of 13.2 per cent for the state, by far the highest for any state,” Bhalla was quoted by PTI as saying. 

Bhalla’s letter pointed fingers at “specific groups in specific localities” attacking “corona warriors” like cops — hinting at the Tikiapara incident in Howrah. Tikiapara that has a sizeable populations of Muslims. 

Bhalla alleged gaps in the surveillance and contact-tracing of positive cases.

“The state has not furnished any data regarding the number of households and individuals contacted end surveyed for signs of COVID symptoms,” PTI reported him as saying.

Further, Bhalla said, testing facilities need to be set up in hill districts of North Bengal, as transporting samples to Siliguri is challenging and causes delays.

“Indefinite delays in testing results have further affected the contact-tracing process and have put patients under high risk,” he said.

The Trinamool Congress dismissed these allegations saying the Centre was “spying” on Bengal. 

State education minister and TMC general secretary Partha Chatterjee was quoted by Anandabazaar Patrika as saying, “Where is this war of letters taking us? There should be cooperation instead of hostility. The Centre seems to be spying on us. This is a dangerous attitude in times of crisis.” 

 

(With PTI inputs)