Another minister tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Bihar, where the tally rose to 17,421 on Monday with 1,116 new cases, the Health Department said. The state also reported nine COVID-19 fatalities in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 134, the department said.
Shailesh Kumar, the minister of the Rural Works Department, tested positive for COVID-19, the second member of the cabinet to have contracted the disease. He is placed in home quarantine.
His close aides said the minister did not suffer from any symptoms but had got himself tested as a precautionary measure after he recently toured his Jamalpur assembly segment in Munger district.
The minister's wife has tested negative, though one of the domestic helps at his residence had been found positive.
Earlier, Backward and Extremely Backward Classes Welfare Minister Vinod Kumar Singh and his wife were found infected with the virus.
According to the health bulletin, Gopalganj district reported its first casualty so far, while there were two more deaths each in Bhagalpur and Gaya, and one each in Begusarai, Kaimur, Munger and Nalanda.
The tally of coronavirus has risen by over 1,000 for the second consecutive day. On Sunday, the state had witnessed the biggest single-day spike of 1,266 cases.
Out of the new 1,116 cases, the maximum number of 223 new coronavirus cases were from Patna district. More than 20 people, who had recently attended a funeral, have tested positive at Bihta block in the district.
District Magistrate Kumar Ravi has ordered closure of at least three wholesale vegetable markets Mithapur, Kankarbagh and Rajendra Nagar.
In Begusarai, 79 more people have tested positive, followed by 78 in Bhagalpur, 76 in Muzaffarpur, 68 in Munger and 65 in Gaya.
The Health Department said 9,129 samples were tested in the past 24 hours. As many as 12,364 people have recovered so far and the recovery rate 70.97 per cent is higher than the national average of 63.02 per cent.
Legislative Council acting Chairman Awadhesh Narain Singh, who had tested positive a fortnight ago, is among those who have recovered.
"I returned to my home the previous night upon getting discharged from hospital", the 71-year-old Singh told PTI Bhasha over phone.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi and Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary had undergone tests after coming in contact with Singh at the oath-taking function of nine newly-elected Legislative Council members in Patna on July 1. All of them have reported negative for the infection.
Patna, with 2,097 confirmed cases and 15 deaths so far, has been the worst hit by the outbreak, followed by Bhagalpur with 1,074 infections and 12 fatalities. Other districts with a high number of cases are Begusarai (813), Muzaffarpur (787), Siwan (711), Munger (646) and Madhubani (632).