Puja festivities begin; Bengal sees record case surge

The week-long Durga Puja festival in West Bengal began on Tuesday as the State recorded its highest single-day surge of 4,029 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to 3,29,057.

With 61 more patients succumbing to the virus, the death toll has reached 6,180. While the active cases in the State rose to 35,170, the discharge rate marginally dropped to 87.43%. The percentage of positive cases out of the samples tested has gone up to 8.07%.

There was not much crowd outside puja pandals during the day after the Calcutta High Court on Monday directed that all pandals would be “no entry” zones for visitors. Police personnel were deployed outside several pandals in the city and the suburbs.

In a related development, Forum for Durgotsav, a consortium of Durga Puja clubs, on Tuesday filed a review petition in the HC challenging its order. The petition was admitted and the hearing would be held on Wednesday.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said that in view of the HC order he would have virtual participation in Durga Puja inaugurations. Mr. Dhankhar urged people to enjoy the festivities safely, and maintain social distancing, wear mask, and wash hands.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh who had contracted the infection and was released from a private hospital during the day welcomed the HC order. “ I have been inside the hospital and seen the plight of people,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Health Department has added 2,174 beds, including 535 ICU beds for critical care patients, in State-run hospitals. The treatment for the augmented beds like all other beds will be free of cost.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 1:52:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/puja-festivities-begin-bengal-sees-record-case-surge/article32904814.ece

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