Patna: There is a sudden spurt in Coronavirus cases in Bihar, which is being attributed to the returnee migrants from across the country. CM Nitish Kumar, who held a video chat with district collectors on Monday, said between May 4-10, 150 new cases were reported in the state. On Monday, 11 more migrants tested positive.
Kumar said, “The new cases included 41 workers from Delhi-NCR, 36 were Maharashtra returnees, 33 from Gujarat, 16 from Telangana and 3 from Haryana. Over 1.32 lakh migrants have been quarantined at the block-level.” The CM directed the officials to distribute a pack of sanitiser and four masks to each migrant and co-ordinate with other states to ensure all willing migrants must reach Bihar in the next seven days.
Dr Pradeep Das, director of the central government-run Rajendra Medical Research Institute in Patna, predicted further rise in the Corona cases in Bihar as a large number of migrant workers were coming back from the hotspots identified across the country. Most of the fresh cases were found among those who returned from Maharashtra and Gujarat, he said.
Testing capacity at the RMRI will have to raised as the existing capacity to test 2,000 people daily was inadequate due to spurt in the cases, he said.
Road construction department minister and Patna MLA Nand Kishore Yadav, too, apprehended more new cases due to the arrival of the non-resident Biharis. Those returning from outside the state were not properly screened and those at the qurantines were fleeing the centres.
Further, inmates at Saharasa and Bhagalpur centres clashed with villagers and vegetable vendors, who protested their arrival in the marketplaces. The inmates claimed they had to come out of the centre in search of quality food.
Many migrants at the quarantines in Kishanganj, Araria, Gaya, Nawada, Madhepura and Saharasa, too, tested positive. In Gaya, 8 people, who returned from Surat and Nanddurbar last week, tested positive.
Of the 38 districts in Bihar, only Jamui is Corona-free so far. Here too, 2,700 migrants were at the quarantines, which have been heavily barricaded to bar exit during the prohibited 21-day period.
Meanwhile, the economic impact of the lockdown was visible in Sitamarhi on Monday with 600 workers of the Riga Sugar Mills getting the sack. The workers worked at the mill till Saturday evening, but when they went to resume duties, the gates were locked and a notice announced their retrenchment with immediate effect. They claimed the company did not pay their arrears. Workers union general secretary Manoj Kumar said the mill management did not pay Rs112 crore to the sugarcane growers of the area. —Law Kumar Mishra