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Cooch Behar Covid figures raise eyebrows

The matter came to light after authorities recorded one death owing to Covid-19 in Cooch Behar district, but the bulletin released after some days showed no death in Cooch Behar district.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Several people, who closely watch the daily bulletin on the Covid-19 situation issued by the West Bengal Health and Family Welfare department, have expressed doubts on statistics therein, in sharp contrast to media reports on the same.

The matter came to light after authorities recorded one death owing to Covid19 in Cooch Behar district, but the bulletin released after some days showed no death in Cooch Behar district.

“The state Health and Family Welfare department recorded one death due to Covid in Cooch Behar in the bulletin on 24 July. But interestingly, in the daily bulletin on 31 July, the districtwise Covid death reports showed that there was no death in Cooch Behar district,” sources said.

Asked to comment, Minister in-charge for North Bengal Development Department, Rabindranath Ghosh, said: “There is no death in Cooch Behar. One Bangladeshi citizen, who came to Cooch Beher for treatment, died in the Indian part. The Bangladeshi cancer patient, on the way to Cooch Behar from Mumbai, died in the Bihar area. The administration cremated the body, following protocols. That report was reflected in the bulletin. I pointed out the same and urged them to rectify. The death report of a Bangladeshi national should not be reflected in the bulletin published by the West Bengal government.”

The figures for North Bengal in a bulletin for 30 July showed that Alipurduar had one death, Cooch Behar one, Darjeeling 22, Kalimpong one, Jalpaiguri 11, North Dinajpur seven, South Dinajpur seven and Malda 11.

A total of 46 persons died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours as of 30 July. As of 4 August, the state government recorded 1731 deaths. In North Bengal, the total number of deaths was 79, with Alipurduar recording three deaths, Coochbehar-0, Darjeeling-27, Kalimpong – 1, Jalpaiguri – 13, North Dinajpur-10, South Dinajpur-10 and Malda-15. Though the records show no death in Cooch Behar now, the number of Covid cases is increasing, sources said. Notably, the number of active Covid cases had gone down to only one in Cooch Behar in the recent past as the administration handled hundreds of migrant workers who came in by special trains.

As of 3 August, 427 Covid cases were detected in the district.

“Migrant workers are still coming in by trains and other modes of transport secretly. They do not report to the administration on arrival. Staying in their homes and villages, they are spreading coronavirus. They disclose their travel history only after they fall seriously ill,” Minister Ghosh said.