With the number of corona cases going up by the hour the Bengal Government has decided to conduct rapid antigen tests in Kolkata and nearby districts, Health Department sources said.
Initially tests will be conducted in Kolkata and North 24 Parganas which have witnessed massive upswing in the number of cases. “In fact we have already started antigen tests in Kolkata and have found positive results,” said State Minister Firhad Hakim.
A senior Health Department official said the Government had already sent about 8,000 kits to Barasat the district head quarters of North 24 Parganas. “If need be the Government will send more kits,” he said adding more kits will be sent to Bongaon, Basirhat, and other places in the district.
North 24 Parganas is the second most affected district in Bengal followed by Howrah, Malda, Hooghly, South 24 Parganas and East Burdwann.
Apart from antigen tests the Government has also directed the agencies to conduct other clinical tests including oxymeter and temperature tests sources said adding that a large portion of the population was being tested in the Behala area of South Kolkata where the health staff were conducting house-to-house tests.
The decision to conduct rapid antigen tests would help the Government to ascertain whether the State was in the midst of community infection. Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay had earlier gone on record saying that parts of Bengal was experiencing community infection which led the Government to announce bi-weekly lockdowns.
The officials also reported that, “out of initial 50 persons 10 people were found positive in Chetla and Alipore areas of South Kolkata which may indicate that a large number of people have already been affected with asymptomatic conditions.”
Though it would be premature to come to any conclusion the number could indicate about 20 percent infection in the population, sources in the Health Department surmised. The State had seen about 200 deaths in the past five days, he maintained.
Meanwhile, a senior doctor and a subaltern police officer succumbed to corona infections on Friday sources said. Dr Tapan Bandopadhyay died at a private health facility at Salt Lake. The death of the police officer took the total number of fatalities in police circles to 7 sources said.