With Bihar witnessing a surge in Covid cases since July 1 and with some of the highest offices in the state, including that of the CM, affected by the virus, the state government on Tuesday announced a lockdown from July 16 to July 31.
While Patna and seven other districts had already been under lockdown since July 9, this has now been extended to cover the entire state.
Covid cases have gone up from 10,205 on July 1 to 18,853 on July 14. The state has 5,690 active cases (recovery rate of 69 per cent against 78 per cent a fortnight ago), with 143 deaths so far. Three lakh samples have been tested so far, with 9,500-10,000 samples being tested each day since last week as against 4,000-5,000 a day earlier. Patna, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Munger, East Champaran, West Champaran, Nalanda and Gopalganj are among districts with the highest case load.
According to the order issued by the Bihar Home Department, all government and private establishments, except hospitals and other essential services such as grocery shops, dairy, telecom, municipal services, police, banks etc, would remain closed.
Trains and flights will continue as usual and taxis and auto rickshaws will be permitted across the state. All government vehicles and private vehicles carrying government staff will be allowed to run. However, movement of private vehicles will be restricted.
All construction-related and agricultural activities will be allowed. Educational institutions and centres of training, research, coaching etc. will remain closed.
The lockdown “will remain in force in State HQ, District HQ, Sub Divisional HQ, Block HQ and all Municipal areas in the state of Bihar for a period of l6 days with effect from 16.07.2020,” the order read.
The state government has declared AIIMS-Patna as the fourth Covid hospital in the state two days ago and also directed six other medical colleges to set aside 50 per cent of its beds for Covid patients.
Earlier, over 50 staff in CM Nitish Kumar’s residence and seven in Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi’s office had tested positive. Five staff members in the office of the Chief Secretary had also tested positive. So far, over a dozen Bihar politicians, including Bihar Legislative Council chairman Awadhesh Narayan Singh, have tested positive.
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