Even as the Bihar government has left it to the Centre to take a call on extending the lockdown, it is gearing up to face the next big challenge — the return of migrants after the lockdown is lifted.
DGP Gupteshwar Pandey told The Indian Express that at least six lakh migrants are expected to return to the state. “We do not want to fritter away the advantage of door-to-door screening,” he said.
The DGP said the government is now considering centralised quarantine at the block level. He said centralised quarantine centres would make it easier for police to monitor migrants.
“The idea is to conduct screening at two levels — first on inter-state borders and subsequently at quarantine centres. Once migrants are sent to quarantine centres at respective block headquarters, they cannot run away to their homes. There would be doctors at the centre and it would be easy for police to guard the centre,” said the DGP, adding that the administration does not want migrants to intermingle with the population that has been screened.
Over three lakh migrants returned to the state before and during the lockdown. Those who returned after March 17 were quarantined in village schools, but they would often slip away to their homes.
The health department then had to start screening migrants in hotspot areas and so far there has been no trend of COVID-19 infections among migrants, barring a few cases of infection due to contact history.