A day after the Centre asked states to send all positive samples for genome sequencing after a sudden surge in Covid -19 cases in several countries, West Bengal health officials said the state is ready to tackle any fresh contagion wave. Testing and management of Covid-19 is being done regularly in the state to keep a tab on the contagion, said Dr Siddhartha Niyogi, Director of the state’s health services said.
"We are prepared to tackle any situation in the state. Things are under control here but we remain cautious in our outlook," the senior official of the West Bengal health department told PTI. The union health ministry on Tuesday sent a missive to state governments asking them to gear up for any possible future surge and to send for genome sequencing all positive case samples to track the variants through the INSACOG (Indian SARS-Cov2 Genomics Consortium) network.
Since the outbreak of the infection in 2020, Bengal has reported 21,532 deaths. According to the state health department statistics, 20,96,981 people have recovered from the disease till December 20 this year. The current West Bengal Covid-19 positivity rate is 0.16 per cent with only 43 active cases. There are 36 cases in home isolation, while only seven are undergoing treatment in hospitals, the health department bulletin released on December 20 said.
On Tuesday the state reported 7 new Covid positive case, while the figures for Sunday and Saturday were nil and just one for Monday. "We have been conducting Covid-19 tests very regularly. We have a good number of doctors and para-medics, sufficient masks, oxygen supplies and ample number of beds in different hospitals and medical colleges to address the situation if there is a spurt in Covid cases," the official said.
Bengal, he said, is testing an average of 4,000 samples per day and the recovery rate is 98.98 per cent. "We have combated three Covid waves successfully and are confident of countering any situation". Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to all states and union territories on Wednesday : "In view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, USA, Korea, Brazil, China it is essential to gear up the whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-Cov2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network. Such an exercise will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any circulating in the country and will facilitate undertaking of requisite public health measures for the same".