Aggressive testing, fewer returning migrants: Why 4 states see a drop in new Covid-19 cases

The railways has so far ferried over 60 lakh migrant workers to different states. However, the number of returning migrants has fallen in the last few days.
The number of migrants returning to Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Padesh has been steadily falling over the last few days.(Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)
The number of migrants returning to Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Padesh has been steadily falling over the last few days.(Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 16, 2020 12:59 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

The number of Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly in the country. But there are four states - Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh - which are reporting a decline in the rate of new infections.

These states have seen the rate of increase drop by nearly two per cent, giving relief to local authorities.

Three of these states are the biggest source of migrant workers in the country. The number of Covid-19 cases starting swelling here when these workers started returning home due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

There were fears that these migrants will take the pandemic to rural areas, which has very poor health infrastructure as compared to urban areas. So, the state governments kept the returning workers in quarantine for a period ranging from seven to 21 days.

But now, since the number of migrants returning to home states has fallen, the rate of Covid-19 spread has also slowed down.

“Most migrant workers have reached their home destinations. We continue to coordinate with the state governments to send back remaining migrant workers,” Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said on Monday. Indian Railways has been running Shramik Special trains to ferry these migrants to their home states from different parts of the country.

The railways had ferried over 60 lakh migrant workers in 4,450 Shramik special trains since May 1.

In Bihar, the number of Covid-19 cases increased to 6,581 on June 15 from 3,923 on June 1. But, the rate of increase was 10.81 per cent in the second week of June as compared to about 12 per cent in the first week.

According to Bihar public relations department, around 2.1 million workers have returned to Bihar since May 1, when the Shramik Special trains started. Of them, only 2,50,000 came in two week of June. Anupam Kumar, Bihar’s public relations secretary, said that the state government expects the cases to go down as very few workers are likely to return from this week onwards.

State Health Secretary Lokesh Kumar Singh said that the state has ramped up its testing capacity with facilities installed in all the 38 districts. The number of samples tested till Monday was 1.27 lakh, he added.

The Uttar Pradesh government’s health data shows that the weekly average of increase in the Covid-19 cases in the first week of June was 412 cases per day, which reduced to 356 cases per day in the second week. The state has deployed 1.21 lakh-strong surveillance teams to gather samples and test them. “These teams have surveyed over 92 lakh homes and covered 4.69 crore people,” Principal Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad said.

The second week of Unlock 1 that began June 1 has brought some reprieve for Jharkhand as well. The pandemic’s growth trajectory peaked on June 8 when the state recorded the highest ever single-day spike of 187 new cases. It took a downward trend thereafter with on average 50 cases per day being reported in the last four days. From 610 cases on May 31, the state’s tally on June 15 had increased to 1,151 cases.

In Madhya Pradesh, the number of new cases recorded has fallen from 1,424 in last week of May to 1,401 in second week of June. The reason for this is just 54,282 workers came back to the state in June as compared to over three lakh in May.

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Sunday, December 05, 2021