Five days after parts of the Raj Bhavan in Bhopal were declared a containment zone after some persons living on the campus tested positive for the coronavirus, the premises were declared containment-free on Monday. The announcement came even as there were speculations over the possible expansion of the Madhya Pradesh cabinet in the coming days.
An official statement from the Raj Bhavan on Monday said the entire premises was declared containment-free after the first and second contacts of the infected persons were shifted to a quarantine facility away from the Raj Bhavan. The infected persons are already under treatment.
The first coronavirus case was reported from Raj Bhavan on May 26, and the number increased to 10 over the next two days. All those who tested positive lived in the employees’ quarters located within the premises, but some distance from the governor’s office and residence.
While the areas near the employees’ quarters were declared a containment zone, the governor’s office and house was declared an inner zone. Restrictions were imposed on the movement of people living in the quarters, two of three gates were sealed and entry was restricted to the premises.
The Madhya Pradesh government’s decision to declare the premises containment-free in such a short span of time comes at a time when there is intense speculation over the imminent expansion of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet, which currently has only five members besides him.
Before this, the administration took 21 days to accord the “containment-free” status.
When asked if the area has been declared containment free to pave the way for a possible swearing-in ceremony, Bhopal collector Tarun Pithode answered in the negative. “As far as I am concerned, the area is still a containment zone. Just because barricades were removed the classification does not change,” he told The Indian Express. He added that he was not aware of the official statement.
Meanwhile, Chouhan did not travel to Delhi Monday, as was being speculated in political circles. According to BJP sources, Chouhan was to carry a list of probables to Delhi. They admitted that the cabinet expansion exercise is going to be difficult because the ruling party has to induct confidants of Jyotiraditya Scindia — formerly in the Congress — as well as senior members of Chouhan’s previous ministry.
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