Minister,Chief Secretary among COVID-hit citizens in Bihar; Nitish says conscious of situation

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Patna, Apr 15 (PTI) Amid surging COVID cases in Bihar which has infected a minister and top level of bureaucracy including the Chief Secretary, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday stressed on ramping up test of samples and intensification of vaccination drive to deal with challenges posed by the second wave of the deadly disease.

Social Welfare minister Madan Sahni, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary Home Chaitanya Prasad and Principal Secretary Finance S Siddarth are among the long list of infected persons in Bihar.

COVID figure has spiked to 2,95,171 in Bihar where daily caseload is going up substantially with every passing day.

Kumar took second dose of vaccine at state-run Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) here during the day.

The chief minister told reporters that the state government is closely monitoring COVID situation and taking all necessary steps to check spread of the contagion.

He said series of restrictions like closure of shops and business establishments by 7 pm everyday, suspending operation of schools, colleges and coaching institutes till April 18 and limiting attendance of participants in last rites to 50 and in marriage and shradh to 200 have already been enforced in the state.

After an all-party meeting to be chaired by Governor Phagu Chauhan on April 17 more measures will be initiated as per the requirement, Kumar said.

Asked if the state was contemplating night curfew on account of rise in coronavirus cases in the state, he said everything will be discussed at the all-party meeting.

On Wednesday Bihar reported 21 fresh COVID deaths taking the toll of casualties to 1,651.

A close aide of minister Sahni said he is in home isolation in the state capital after testing positive and his health is better now.

Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary Home and Principal Secretary Finance are undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Patna, a senior official of the hospital said.

A senior IAS officer and Director of Panchayati Raj department Vijay Ranjan (59) had died due to coronavirus at AIIMS Patna on Tuesday.

The chief minister said the state has increased volume of tests which is touching a lakh daily now and efforts are on to further enhance it so that all the infected persons are identified and provided early treatment.

Bihar had tested 1,00,134 samples for COVID-19 during the last 24 hours Wednesday taking the total number of such tests to 2,48,43,640.

Kumar also stressed on speeding up vaccination of the eligible population.

According to figures available with the state health society, a total of 1,32,426 beneficiaries were administered jabs across Bihar Wednesday. Number of citizens inoculated so far is 54,64,210.

With 4786 new cases on Wednesday, the tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 2,95,171 in the state. Maximum infected persons are in Patna.

Altogether 1,189 patients recovered during the period, taking the total number of cured people to 2,69,795.

The recovery rate is 91.40 per cent.

The number of active patients in Bihar currently is 23,724, according to the health department last bulletin.

The chief minister said that testing facilities have been arranged at all the Railway stations in Bihar to screen natives returning home from different parts of the country.

Trains from coronavirus-hit Mumbai, Pune and Delhi are arriving here daily carrying large number of migrant workers returning home due to joblessness and fearing danger of lockdown. PTI ANW SNS SNS