Covid-19: Bihar stops registration of migrants for quarantine

Jun 02, 2020 07:52 PM IST

Patna: Bihar government on Tuesday announced that it would stop registration of migrant workers, who have returned to their home state amid the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions that were imposed on March 25 to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, to be lodged in quarantine centres.

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HT Image

The new norms have come into effect from Monday evening.

Now, migrants returning to Bihar are not required to undergo the mandatory 14-day stay at the quarantine centres set up by the state government to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Earlier, the state government had announced the closure of these quarantine centres from June 15, as the inmates would have completed their 14-day isolation period by then.

The state disaster management department’s (DMD) data until Monday showed that 1,424,548 people were registered in 11,124 quarantine centres across the state. So far, the state government authorities have discharged 948,900 people and 475,648 are yet to complete their mandatory 14-day quarantine period at these centres. Around 28 lakh people have returned to Bihar either by road or via Shramik Special trains since the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Pratyaya Amrit, principal secretary, DMD, explained the state government’s decision to close down these quarantine centres from June 15.

“The last batch of migrants reached Bihar on Monday. Hence, the quarantine period for all the migrant returnees will end by June 15,” Amrit said.

Be that as it may, on Tuesday, too, 24,750 people arrived in the state by 15 Shramik Special trains, while another six trains are expected to ferry around 9,900 on Wednesday.

Amrit, however, doesn’t want to consider the recent returnees as migrants.

“How do you know they’re migrants? Inter-state travel restrictions have been lifted, and people are free to arrive in Bihar by any mode of conveyance from any part of the country,” he said.

He argued that the quarantine facility was introduced during lockdown restrictions or when they were partially eased.

“There is no need for fresh registration for migrants, as restrictions on inter-state movement have been lifted across the country,” he added.

Amrit, however, made it clear that door-to-door health monitoring would continue, as part of the state government’s bid to ramp up surveillance to prevent the spread of the viral outbreak.

Most of the makeshift quarantine centres across the state are operating out of schools, which need to be vacated, as the authorities are looking at reopening them. An announcement is likely to be made in July regarding the reopening of schools after assessing the ground reality about the pandemic, the authorities said.

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    Vijay is chief of bureau, Patna. He has spent 21 years in journalism and covers political beats and public affairs.

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