covid-19: ‘Low testing, high cases: West Bengal’s grave scenario’

NEW DELHI: West Bengal situation is becoming worrisome with each passing day because of low testing and high Covid-19 positive cases, the Centre’s empowered groups’ assessment reveals.

The state-wise assessment shows that Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are reporting high cases because of high testing. But percentage of cases in West Bengal is high despite low level of testing. This indicates that many more may be infected, the assessment shows. While declining to share exact numbers, officials told ET that West Bengal’s positive percentage was far higher than the national average of around 4.5%. Officials also said the state was hiding true figures of positive cases and related deaths.

As per the data released by the West Bengal government on Sunday evening, out of 10,893 samples tested, 20 have died of the infection and 461are active cases. Comparatively, Karnataka has tested over 42,964 samples, Andhra more than 68,000 and Maharashtra more than over one lakh.

According to the empowered groups, states are being bracketed into four broad scenarios. One, high testing and high cases (such as Mahatrsahtra and Delhi). This is seen positively as high testing will help find positive cases and ensure that the chain of transmission is broken through isolation. The second scenario is of Kerala: Low testing and low cases. Kerala’s high testing approach in early days brought down positive cases, officials said.

‘High testing and low positive cases’ is where states can move once they are successful in arresting the spread of the virus. The fourth and most worrying scenario is of low testing and high positive cases, as is the case in West Bengal.

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