Extremely high mortality rate in West Bengal, says Central team

Barricades put up at Raja Bazar which is a Red Zone in Kolkata.

Barricades put up at Raja Bazar which is a Red Zone in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Inter-Ministerial Central team urges State government to be ‘transparent and consistent’ in reporting figures

The Inter Ministerial Central Team (IMCT), which was stationed in Kolkata on Monday, sent its final observations to the State government highlighting “extremely high mortality rate” from COVID-19, and urging that the West Bengal government should be “transparent and consistent” in reporting figures pertaining to the pandemic.

In a letter addressed to the State’s Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Apurva Chandra, team leader of the IMCT, stated that the Central team had written seven letters to him, and addressed four others to the Principal Secretaries of Home, Health, Municipal Affairs, and Food and Supplies Departments.

Also read: The mystery of the low COVID-19 numbers in West Bengal

Referring to the information shared by the State government on April 30 which “put the mortality to 105”, Mr. Chandra also highlighted in his communication: “For a total reported number of 744 + 72 = 816 COVID patients, the mortality rate of 12.8 % is highest in the country. This extremely high mortality rate is clear indication of low testing and weak surveillance and tracking.”

Mr. Chandra also added that the State needs to be “transparent and consistent in reporting figures and not down play the spread of virus”. The IMCT, which added that there was no evidence of daily surveillance of individuals in containment zones, lauded the State government’s efforts to increase the number of tests from 400 on April 20 to 2,410 on May 2.

The IMCT is returning to Delhi after spending two weeks in Kolkata. Two IMCT teams, one for south Bengal and the other for north Bengal, arrived in the State on April 20.

Special trains

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that two trains will leave for West Bengal from Kerala and Ajmer, bringing migrant labourers back to the State.

“As a part of our promise to bring back citizens of Bengal stranded in other States, two special trains from Ajmer & Kerala would leave tomorrow for West Bengal carrying more than 2500 migrant labourers, pilgrims, students & patients. Everyone coming in to be screened as per protocols ,” Ms. Banerjee had tweeted late on Sunday.

Over 2,000 students from Kota in Rajasthan have already returned to the State. On Monday, a meeting was chaired by the Chief Minister at the State Secretariat, where Ministers of the State Cabinet were present to take a decision on the relaxations in different sectors in the State.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 9:52:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/extremely-high-mortality-rate-in-west-bengal-says-central-team/article31501093.ece

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