Suggestions at all-party meet on COVID noted;govt new action plan will be announced Sunday: Nitish

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Patna, Apr 17 (PTI) At the all-party meeting called by the Governor on COVID situation in Bihar, the BJP and the RJD Saturday favoured weekend shutdown to break the chain of coronavirus surge during second wave in the state.

Emerging from the meeting, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said they briefed everybody about the steps taken by the state government to deal with the challanges posed by resurgence of the disease and noted the points of view of all the political parties.

Taking into account the valuable suggestions made at the meeting and after getting the feedback from an interaction with the district officials Sunday, further steps will be taken to more effectively contain the spread of the virus, Kumar told reporters.

'The newer measures that will be announced tomorrow will not be final and more steps will be taken as the situation unfolds in future,' he said.

He said the participants were informed about a talk he had with the Chairman of Medanta hospital Naresh Trehan to convert his hospital here as a dedicated centre for COVID for care of the patients.

The chief minister said that the state government was working to ensure adequate availability of medicines and oxygen for critically ill patients.

He thanked all the parties for coming with important suggestions and made an appeal to work together to minimise the impact of the pandemic in the state.

Senior leaders of the RJD, BJP, Congress, JD(U), CPI(ML) and Hindustani Awam Morcha head Jitan Ram Manjhi among others attended the meeting chaired by Governor Phagu Chauhan in vitual mode.

RJD was represented by leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, while BJP, Congress and JD(U) state presidents Sanjay Jaiswal,Madan Jha and Umesh Kushwaha respectively put across their parties viewpoints.

Speaking at the meet, Tejashwi Yadav did not forget to score a political point by blaming the state government of 'mismanaging' COVID situation and 'at the end trying to make everybody party to this.' He, however, said in the interest of the people of Bihar, the party is offering a volley of suggestions to more effectively deal with the situation.

Yadav favoured imposition of weekend curfew.

'If the state government is contemplating promulgation of lockdown, people should be informed about it in advance so that like in the past they don't face difficulties. Migrant workers shall be told about it well in time,' Yadav said.

The RJD leader mooted the idea of forming a task force comprising of Epidemiologist, public health experts and representatives of political parties on coronavirus.

Besides, stressing on ensuring adequate supply of beds and oxygen in the hospitals, the RJD leader suggested use of mobile vans for vaccinating people in mohallas and also reducing time period in providing reports of corona test which he said is woefully taking 6-7 days now.

He also suggested use of GPS tracking technique to keep a watch over patients recuperating in home isolation.

BJP Bihar unit president Sanjay Jaiswal said lockdown should be imposed across the state from 6 pm Friday till 10 am Monday every week.

'The 62 hours of lockdown every week will help in breaking the chain of the infections,' he said.

Expressing worry over reports of infection among children, Jaiswal advised closure of schools for summer vacation from April 18 to June 1.

For compensating loss of studies, holidays during dusshera and winter vacation can be cancelled, he added.

The BJP leader lauded the central and the state governments for doing their best to meet challenges posed by COVID.

Congress state unit chief Madan Jha offered party's head quarter and also its offices in the districts for use as isolation centres for COVID positive citizens.

In the event of the state government going for curfew, the interest of the daily workers and petty traders should be taken care of, Jha suggested.

Ruling JD(U) was represented in the meeting by state chief Umesh Kushwaha, Rural Development minister Shrawan Kumar and party deputy leader in legislative council Devesh Chandra Thakur.

Kushwaha highlighted the state government's honest efforts to deal with the situation as a result of which positivity rate is low here as compared to other states.

He suggsted further improving storage of medicines, vaccines and oxygen cylinders for the benefit of citizens.

Manjhi stoutly opposed enforcement of lockdown in Bihar to put a brake on coronavirus spread, saying poor are severely affected by such measures.

He also laid emphasis on ramping up clinical examinationto detect positivity in people.

Like in other parts of the country, coronavirus cases are multiplying in thousands in Bihar with every passing day.

Bihar reported 7870 new COVID cases Saturday, taking the tally of positive cases to 3,15,427.

It also saw 34 more deaths, taking the toll of fatalities to 1722. PTI ANW SNS SNS