West Bengal reported 18,213 fresh Covid-19 cases on Friday, a four-fold rise since the beginning of the year and 2,792 more than the previous day, a bulletin released by the state health department said.
Kolkata city itself accounted for the bulk of new infections reporting 7,484 fresh cases, some 14 per cent more than Thursday. The death toll in the state mounted to 19,864 with 18 more fatalities, the heath department’s bulletin said.
However the state government has decided to go ahead with the Gangasagar Mela, a religious gathering at an island where the Ganges river enters the Bay of Bengal. The High Court of Kolkata today allowed the Mela to be held subject to stringent conditions which include declaring Sagar a notified area.
Other conditions include setting up of a committee which may recommend to the state a ban on entry to Sagar Island if there is any violation of health safety norms and the Government advising people through advertisements that they “stay safe and desist from visiting the Gangasagar Island during this period.” The state now has 51,384 active cases, while 7,912 patients have recovered from the disease in the past 24 hours.
Since Thursday, 69,158 samples were tested in West Bengal. The positivity rate rose up further to 26.34 per cent compared to 24.71 per cent reported on Thursday.
The North 24 Parganas district accounted for 3,118 new cases, while Howrah (1,360) and Paschim Bardhaman (1,043) were other districts with large numbers of cases.
Out of the 18 deaths — seven were in the city of Kolkata and three in North 24 Parganas district while the rest were from other districts — in the last 24 hours.