PATNA: In a first, the state health department in Bihar has brought the population of vegetable sellers of urban areas under the "must-to-be-COVID-19-tested" after the migrant labourers.
This has been decided and directed to all the districts to be done in an effort to curb the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 infection because of their proximity while selling vegetables amid the lockdown.
Confirming the news to this newspaper, principal secretary of health department Sanjay Kumar said that the directives have been issued to the district magistrates (DMs) of all 38 districts including Patna to collect the samples of vegetables sellers particularly from the urban and city areas for conducting proper testing for the COVID-19 infection.
In Patna alone, approximately 2000 vegetables-sellers have been estimated to be active in the vegetable trade either at markets or moving throughout the areas with push carts.
As per a conservative estimate, around 50,000 vegetable sellers are involved in the sales of varieties of vegetables at different urban markets in all cities of 38 districts.
Kumar through his official letter, citing some cases of vegetables sellers testing positive in Chennai and Delhi, has said that the test of vegetables sellers in the city is imperative viewing the growing cases of infection.
This initiative to collect samples of vegetables sellers started from Tuesday in many cities for lab testing to check the possible infection of COVID-19.
It has also been asked to limit the sampling to 50 vegetables sellers so that their testing could be done within 24 hours in testing laboratories in Patna and other nearby testing spots started for the COVID-19 test.
Kumar said that sampling of vegetable sellers will continue alongside the sampling of migrants.
Meanwhile, health sources said that vegetable sellers fall under the category of highly vulnerable for COVID-19 after barbers, the positive cases.