Patna: Workers returning from Delhi top the list of migrants who have tested positive for Covid-19 in Bihar.
Bihar government sources told ThePrint that around 7 lakh migrants have entered the state since the end of April, and the figure is expected to double by mid-June. The figure includes people using any mode of transportation, including Shramik Special trains.
The total number of positive Covid-19 cases in Bihar is 1,900, as on Thursday, 21 May.
The official list shows that 1,592 migrant workers returning from Delhi have been tested for the novel coronavirus, of which 249, or around 16 per cent, have tested positive. Maharashtra ranks second, with 187 out of 2,161 returning migrant workers testing positive (9 per cent).
“Delhi tops the list of Covid-19 cases among migrant workers, followed by Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat. This trend is for the entire state of Bihar,” Bihar’s Principal Secretary, Health, Sanjay Kumar told ThePrint Tuesday, a day before he was transferred.
He had said Sunday Bihar tested 1,070 swab samples collected from migrant workers who had come back from Delhi and 172 of them had so far tested positive, which worked out to nearly 31 per cent of the total cases.
Uday Singh Kumawat has been named as Kumar’s replacement, but he will not take charge until Friday, and couldn’t be reached via calls and messages.
Gujarat is actually third on the list in terms of absolute numbers, with 158 returning workers testing positive out of 2,732, but its percentage (6 per cent) is lower than that for workers coming from West Bengal (8 per cent, 38 positive out of 451 tested).
Purnea District Magistrate Rahul Kumar told ThePrint that of the 34 Covid cases reported among migrant workers in the district until Thursday, 27 came from Delhi and two from Mumbai.
Madhubani DM Nilesh Ramchandra Deore added that 24 out of 80 samples from Delhi-returned migrants have come up positive in his district, while the corresponding figures from Maharashtra and Gujarat are eight out of 141 and six out of 61, respectively.
State-wise quarantine division
The Bihar government has divided its quarantine centres into block, panchayat and village levels, and is housing migrant workers from different states at different levels.
At the block-level quarantine homes, migrants returning from Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat are being housed, while at the panchayat level are those from West Bengal, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Migrants returning from the rest of the states have been put up at village-level quarantine centres.
The state government is providing the returning migrants ‘dignity kits’ with 16 items, including combs, soaps, buckets, mosquito nets, bed-sheets etc.
According to a 20 May government statement issued to the media, there are more than 8,661 quarantine centres in Bihar, hosting more than 6 lakh people, including the returning migrants.
A senior state government official, who didn’t wish to be named, explained the process that takes place after the migrants arrive in Bihar.
“The migrant workers are mostly asymptomatic, and are kept in normal quarantine centres. But symptomatic patients are segregated and sent to ‘health quarantine centres’, where they are provided treatment. The moment we come to know of a symptomatic Covid patient, he or she must be sent to the health quarantine facility.”
The official added: “Even though most migrant workers are asymptomatic, we are picking up random people for Covid testing to find out about the incidence of infection among them. Whoever gets picked up randomly and tests positive also gets sent to the health quarantine centre. This random testing is mostly conducted among groups of migrants coming from Delhi, Surat, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, because these are the places with higher number of Covid cases. We also look at aged people (60-plus) coming from these cities.”
If the patients’ symptoms are severe, they are admitted to hospitals dedicated for treatment of Covid cases.
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