West Bengal on Wednesday recorded the highest single-day increase in Covid cases as 5,892 infections pushed up the active caseload past 30,000 to 32,621.
The toll rose to 10,458 as 24 patients died in a day, according to the state health bulletin in which figures are updated till 9 am. Seven deaths each occurred in North 24 Parganas and Kolkata, which were followed by Paschim Bardhaman with four fatalities.
The crisis has been exacerbated by a shortage in vaccines. Several hospitals have either stopped the inoculation drive or are giving vaccines to fewer people than before. Sources said several people who had received the first dose were being made to wait for the second jab till further notification. The state on Wednesday received three lakh doses of Covishield, and another two lakh doses of Covaxin are likely to arrive on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Kolkata Police intensified vigilance to implement Covid safety protocols and fined people not adhering to the safety measures. Five people were arrested in the city’s New Market area for flouting the rules. The police distributed masks and using a loudspeaker alerted people about the steps they should take.
The second wave has led to record increases in infection. The Association of Health Service Doctors on Wednesday wrote to Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, expressing concern about the current situation and suggested steps the administration could take.
“The second wave has badly hit the state with an exponential sudden rise of cases and already transgressed its earlier limit in an unprecedented manner. The victims of this frightening calamity are thrown into abyss of insecurity and unfortunate incidents set in taking place across the state,” wrote the organisation.
The association advised the government to take immediate measures to requisition private health facilities to cope with the rise in patient load, earmark Covid blocks and SARI (severe acute respiratory infection) wards in all public hospitals — second-tier and above — and ensure they are operational soon and have uninterrupted logistics supply. “Resume 24×7 Covid control room for requisite assistance and ensure urgent admission for eligible ones, both at Swasthya Bhawan and district levels. Ensure wide advocacy before general masses and circulate essential phone numbers of control cells. Everyday tele-counselling from the control room to judge the clinical status of victims and contact tracing is to be resumed with due sensitivity,” the outfit added.
The doctors advised the state government to set up dedicated ambulance services with strict supervision of a fare chart.
“The administration in concurrence with the Election Commission should come forward to implement pandemic regulations in letter and spirit. Exercise the highest endeavours to get requisite amounts of vaccines from the appropriate body,” the doctors’ body said.