RANCHI: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Friday requested people, who came in contact with Covid-19 patients, not to "invite death" and come forward for tests so that the state government can help them if they are infected with coronavirus.
The administration is also worried about how to arrange for medical facilities for around seven lakh people stranded outside, who might return to the state almost at the same time once the lockdown ends, he said after an all-party meeting to review the COVID-19 situation.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the state is 14 and one of them died.
"Those who are hiding (after coming in contact with COVID-19 patients) are inviting death. I would like to request them with folded hands to contact the government so that we can bring them out of their problem," the chief minister told reporters.
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To a question, Soren said a section of the parties was in favour of extending the lockdown, while others were opposed to the idea.
Jharkhand declared lockdown from March 22.
The nationwide lockdown was then imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 to break the chain of coronavirus transmission and it was scheduled to be lifted on April 15.
"The problem is the situation can change any minute. It may stabilize for some time or then take a serious turn. Nobody can say anything," Soren said.
He said there are several challenges before the government and it has to face them to win the battle against coronavirus.
The chief minister said once the lockdown ends, the state expects that around seven lakh people who are now stranded outside will return almost at the same time by road or by train.
"We have told all the departments to prepare with schemes as it will become our responsibility to identify them and provide them with healthcare facilities in order to check the spread of the disease," Soren added.
Refusing to comment on any particular issue for the spread of COVID-19 in the state, Soren said it has come to the country from a foreign land and the Centre has to ponder over it.
Expressing concern over the problem of rumour mongering, he said, "Some unsocial elements are trying to vitiate the atmosphere. We condemn it. Strong punishment will be meted out against such people."
Representatives of the Congress, BJP, JMM, AJSU party, CPI, CPI (M), CPI-ML (Liberation), NCP and the Marxist Coordination Committee appreciated the government's efforts in containing the disease.