In a 2020 redux, Bihar is going to reactivate quarantine centres to accommodate people, especially migrant labourers who have started returning from states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and others parts of the country, owing to the second wave of the corona pandemic as well as the return of the spectre of lockdowns.
The Central Railway has already announced that it would run special trains from Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra to Patna, Danapur and Darbhanga in Bihar and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Maharashtra is currently the hardest hit state from Covid-19 and the government there has enforced night curfews on weekdays and lockdowns on weekends.
“Coronavirus infections are rapidly spreading in other states. The people of Bihar are expected to return from there. We must keep quarantine centres ready at block levels,” Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Tuesday.
Nitish chaired a high-level meeting with his senior officials, district magistrates and superintendents of police to take stock of the Covid-19 situation in the state. Bihar is also witnessing a spike in coronavirus cases. The number of active cases has shot up to around 5,000 from 224 a month ago.
Quarantine centres in cities like Patna have already been activated.
The chief minister also instructed the officials to ensure Covid-19 tests for all frontline and healthcare workers along with their family members. He also called for increasing the number of daily tests being conducted across the state.
Special plans will be made after analysing the spread of coronavirus infections, its reasons and the experiences gained so far.
“The population of Bihar is huge. The disaster management department should be alert in the light of the challenges that may come in future. People should stay cautious at religious and crowded places,” Nitish said. He also appealed to the people to follow Covid-19 guidelines, wear masks, maintain social distancing and keep washing their hands frequently with soap.
Bihar has already issued orders to curb gatherings at functions and closed down all educational institutions till April 11 in the wake of rising coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, 18 students have tested positive for Covid-19 at the IIT Patna campus, following their return after the Holi vacation. The students have been isolated at their hostel and the areas around it have been sanitised. Academic activities on the campus have been suspended for a week.