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Migrant crisis: States enforce quarantine, seal borders

Over the last 48 hours, workers from various urban centres, facing a coronavirus health scare on top of job losses, tried to escape the 21-day lockdown, and rushed back to their hometowns.

Written by Avaneesh Mishra , Santosh Singh , Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh, Lucknow, Patna | Published: March 31, 2020 1:37:41 am
coronavirus india lockdown, coronavirus update, corona, coronavirus update in india, migrant workers coronavirus, mass exodus coronavirus, corona virus in india, corona virus news update Migrants sitting atop a bus as they leave from Lucknow. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastava/File)

UTTAR Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana, which have been witnessing a sudden influx of labourers from faraway Delhi and Mumbai and other urban centres, have completely sealed interstate borders, and ordered to keep migrant workers in isolation.

Over the last 48 hours, workers from various urban centres, facing a coronavirus health scare on top of job losses, tried to escape the 21-day lockdown, and rushed back to their hometowns.

While UP ordered 14-day home quarantine for migrant labourers returning home, Haryana has set up “safe homes” in all the districts to retain them. Haryana has also ordered mandatory health check-up for all since they violated social distancing rule.

Though most of the states have set up screening camps at their district entry points, some returning workers are skipping screening.

Uttar Pradesh

UP sealed its borders Monday, putting a stop to the flow of migrant workers returning home from others states. And to keep the “lakhs of migrant labourers” under mandatory 14-day home quarantine, the state made continuous announcements through loudspeakers and conducted police patrol on a loop.

All districts and Community Health Centres (CHCs) near district entry points were asked to set aside 30-50 isolation beds.

In Pilibhit, migrant workers are being kept in home quarantine. “So far, those who entered the district have undergone health checkups… After primary checkup, we are advising home quarantine to them, and putting up stickers outside their houses, asking people to not interact with them or go inside the house till the quarantine period is over,” said Pilibhit DM Vaibhav Srivastava.

The Badaun administration, which saw a return of around 7,200 migrants, is flying drones with cameras outside the houses to make sure people stay indoors.

Bihar 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday said that those with a suspected COVID-19 infection will have to go through mandatory tests. Health kits are being provided to district and block hospitals. All migrants will be transported to their villagers where mukhiyas and local officials would have to ensure that 14-day quarantine was adhered to.

Disaster management department principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit said about 50,000 migrants had been taken to their respective districts from six transit camps along Bihar borders. However, some of the migrants arriving from West Bengal, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh at the Rajauli border in Nawada and those from UP and Delhi arriving at Gopalganj bordering Gorakhpur skipped the screening at the transit camps and headed for their villages.

In Banka district, mukhiyas of several villages are struggling to keep villagers in schools till 14-day quarantine period.

Haryana

After stopping the exodus of migrant labourers into the state and bringing them to “safe homes” set up in all districts which provide them food and shelter, the state’s health department has begun conducting their medical examination. Haryana Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora said people coming to Haryana from other states would be mandatorily quarantined for 14 days. On Sunday, the state sealed all its inter-state and inter-district borders. All migrant labourers/ workers who were stopped from walking towards Delhi or other neighbouring states of Haryana, are being brought in to the 461 “safe homes”.

“List of migrant labourers from UP, Bihar and Odisha has been provided to the Deputy Commissioners and they would ensure that nobody goes out of these relief camps during the lockdown period,” said Keshni Anand Arora, Chief Secretary, Haryana.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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