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Bihar: Sufficient medical equipments, committed workforce will defeat COVID-19, says top official

Rajesh Kumar Thakur of The New Indian Express spoke to Pratyay Amrit, principal secretary of State disaster management, on the preparedness of Bihar government to defeat the killer disease.

Published: 30th March 2020 06:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th March 2020 06:16 PM   |  A+A-

Bihar MLA distributes masks outside the assembly among the politicians and the media persons

Bihar MLA distributes masks outside the assembly among the politicians and the media persons. (Photo| Ranjit K Dey, EPS)

By Express News Service

Bihar is braving against COVID-19 infection with all its might. Chief minister Nitish Kumar is leaving no stone unturned to break the chain of infection even as thousands of migrants arrived in the state.

Rajesh Kumar Thakur of The New Indian Express spoke to Pratyay Amrit, principal secretary of State disaster management, on the preparedness of Bihar government to defeat the killer disease.

Q: How is the josh in Bihar to prevent or break the chain of infection of COVID-19?

A: Josh (enthusiasm) is high to break and bat out the infection of COVID-19 through well-calculated preventive and precautionary measures. As we know, Bihar has high density of population compared to other states, so naturally, we have to work more on war-footing mission and it is going on. As a result of collective efforts and commitments under the leadership of CM Nitish Kumar, only 15 positive cases have been detected so far with just one death.

Q: What steps taken to prevent the entry of migrants who clandenstinely enter Bihar?

A: Well, we have sealed all the points of entry at the borders with other states and Nepal. In North Bihar, seven districts share its borders with Nepal and entry slots of transit points have been manned with police forces. The border entry points have bee sealed and we are allowing the people only after proper medical screening. The border Apada Rahat shivirs with kitchens have been set up at 90 places across the state. The cops have been enforcing the lockdown strongly than ever seen.  The migrants, arrived from other states, are provided foods and camp facilities as long they are hosted for screening and thereafter they are made stay in the home quarantine in their respective villages.

Q: What about those poor people who have lost their livelihoods in the lockdown?

A: Our CM Nitish Kumar ji has already ordered to provide them rations and cash. Around 1.5 crore ration-card holders have started getting RS 1000 into their accounts in addition to free rations for next three months. The students are getting money of their scholarship and pensioners of all categories are given pension of three months in advance. Not only this, 25 lakh families are getting 210 kilograms foodgrains under the Antyodaya scheme and 65 lakh poor families will get also three free LPG cylinders under the Ujjwala Scheme.

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Q: As reports come in, state is facing shortage of masks and hand sanitizers. How are you dealing with this issue?

A: This is also being sorted out and involve the jeevika-didis (volunteers) for making masks in many districts such as Vaishali, Begusarai, Nawada and others. Similarly, hand sanitizers are also been made in Hajipur and other places. (Quoting data) 65000 three-layers masks have been made by the jeevika-didis and distributed at various places. Dozens of teams have been pressed into action to check black-marketing and hoarding of these items.

Q: What methods have been adopted to track the movements of passengers and migrants?

A: Look, a hi-tech app called "Garur App" was developed by the experts within 24 hours of outbreak of infection to track down movements of migrants along with national and international travelers. As of now, we are tracking more than 50,000 people through this aap. Our target is to track 1.5 lakh of passengers who arrived in Bihar through roads, rails or flights in the last one fortnight. All the tracked passengers are continuously monitored on their home quarantine.

Q: Do you have sufficient number of testing kits and other protective gadgets for medical personnel?

A: A few days ago, we have  brought 10,000  testing kits from Pune by a special charted flight and testing for COVID-19 has started across the state. We have also procured thermal screening devices. There is no as shortage of anything to tame the outbreak.

Q: Has the lockdown completely been enforced in the state with the help of cops?

A: Yes, we are doing our best to enforce the complete lockdown with the cops and other governemnt employees. Chief secretary Deepak Kumar, additional chief secretary Amir Subhani, DGP Gupteshwar Pandey, principal secretary health Sanjay Kumar and almost all officials are working collectively to win over the virus outbreak. The police have seized more than 4,940 vehicles till March 29 and arrested 180 persons and lodged 310 FIRs since March 24 in a bid to enforce the lockdown. Around Rs 98.26 lakh has been fined on the violators of lockdown. Bihar will bravely win over the Covid 19.

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