Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (Photo Credit: PTI)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said the state government was taking steps to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and called upon the people to be aware while avoiding panic.
Talking to reporters outside the Assembly premises here, he said officials were instructed to keep a close tab on the arrival of visitors at tourist spots like Bodh Gaya and along the porous Indo-Nepal border.
Being the place where Buddha had attained enlightenment, Bodh Gaya attracts Buddhist pilgrims from far and wide including the Far East where adherents of the faith live in large numbers and which is among the regions worst-affected by Covid-19 disease.
“Similarly, the Nepal border is also a route that travellers from adjoining countries like China are known to take for entering Bihar. Instructions have been issued to keep a close watch (on them),” Kumar said.
“All efforts are being made by the government. It is requested that people avoid panic though they must be aware of necessary precautions and the course of action to be followed if symptoms (of the disease) are found,” Kumar added.
Earlier, inside the state Legislative Council, BJP MLC Sanjay Mayukh flagged the issue of migrant workers from Bihar having been abandoned at an unspecified location in Iran upon suspicion that they are suffering from the disease.
Some of the migrants, who hail from districts like Saran and Siwan, had on Wednesday shared on social media a video expressing their plight and seeking help from Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We have already taken up the matter with the Centre and hopefully their safe return will be ensured at the earliest,” Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told the Council.
The Centre has recently suspended visas granted to travellers from a number of countries, including Iran, where a surge in the number of people afflicted from the dreaded virus has been reported.
According to state Health Minister Mangal Pandey, at least 14 people have been quarantined at hospitals in the state upon their return from the West Asian countries where they had gone in search of livelihood.
However, so far the state has not confirmed any case, even as the coronavirus scare has resulted in a sharp rise in the demand for face masks and steep fall in the prices of poultry products in the state.