Is return of migrant workers causing trouble in Bihar?

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migrant workers
Image Source - The Week

Most numbers of cases in recent times are found in the migrants who come from other states


Bihar is showing signs of a big surge in the number of COVID-19 cases for several days now. Bihar reported 380 new cases on Thursday. It is almost 25 per cent of the total novel coronavirus cases in the state. The total number of coronavirus cases in Bihar stands at 2177 on Saturday noon. 629 people have recovered from the virus while 11 have lost their lives so far. More than half of the total COVID-19 cases in Bihar have been detected in the last 7-8 days.

What data says:

In May month, the total numbers of cases in Bihar were 450 but after migrants including the migrant workers started moving to Bihar after easing in restrictions, the number of cases in Bihar started going up rapidly. Most of the new cases that have been detected in the last few days, account to the people who are returning to hometown or villages from their workplaces from other parts of the country. Even now, migrant workers account for more than half of the total coronavirus cases in Bihar.

Read more: 5 pictures that show the difference between impact of COVID-19 in rich and poor

The growth rate in Bihar started increasing around April 20 when the state crossed the 100-figure mark. Mainly because of the low caseload. The number started to dip for a few days until migrant workers started coming in. Bihar had a doubling time of over 19 days and the growth rate was 3. 75 per cent. But the cases started to surge after the migrants started testing positive in the coronavirus test. Now, the state has a doubling time of 7 days and the seven-day average growth rate is 10. 32 per cent. The doubling time across India is 13.45 days currently.

Bihar authorities at fault?

Looking at the numbers, it won’t be wrong to state that migrant workers who are compelled to go to their hometown are actually bringing coronavirus with them. People going to Bihar through special trains were not put under quarantine by the authorities. A home-quarantine seal was put on their hands, but we know how much people are going to follow the home-quarantine thing in villages. However, people coming from Shramik Special trains have been put under quarantine centers and facilities.

Read more: How lockdown has impacted non-migrant poor workers in New Delhi, A study

The data says that while migrants are trying to defeat hunger and unemployment and somehow reach their hometown, they are not able to save themselves from getting the infection of the deadly virus. The biggest challenge for Bihar is to deal with their healthcare system. We have seen in the past during the ‘Chamki Bukhar’ period that Bihar lacks a proper health infrastructure.

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