Coronavirus (COVID-19)Health

Bihar imposes night curfew; closes schools, malls after surge in Covid cases

Bihar government has imposed a series of restrictions including night curfew across the state and closure of educational activities, shopping malls, cinema halls, clubs, gyms and park till May 15 as the Covid cases spiked.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made the announcement after chairing high-level meeting with top policymakers in the state. The night curfew will remain in place from 9 pm to 5 am. All shops selling vegetables, fruits, eggs and meat will be closed by 6 pm. Restaurants and dhabas to be operational for home delivery and take away services till 9 pm.

All educational institutions, including schools, colleges, coaching centres and skill development centres will remain closed till 15 May. No examination will be held by state-run schools and universities till 15 May 2021.

Cinema halls, malls, clubs, gyms, parks and religious places will also remain shut till mid-May.

Bihar Home Departmentn issued detailed guidelines regarding the Covid related restrictions after a high-level meeting chaired by Nitish Kumar, who also holds the home portfolio.

Talking to reporters, Kumar said: “containment zones will be created, reports of RT-PCR tests will be given on time and supplies of oxygen and medicine will be arranged.” The chief minister further added that the vaccination drive in the state would also be ramped up.

As special gratitude, the Bihar government has decided to provide bonus salary of one month to all healthcare workers this year as well.

Earlier on 3 April, the Bihar government directed that deployment of additional police force at bus terminuses, railway stations, vegetable markets and eating joints to ensure social distancing and prevent overcrowding has also been ordered.

The communication stated that entry of stray visitors inside government offices shall remain restricted, while public transport vehicles will be allowed to ply, with the number of passengers not exceeding 50 per cent of total capacity.

Holding of all functions, except marriages and funerals, at public places will be barred and the maximum number of people allowed at a wedding must not exceed 250. Not more than 50 persons will be allowed to attend a ‘shraaddh’, the release said.

The district administrations concerned have been empowered to enforce Covid protocols like compulsory wearing of face masks and social distancing, the home department missive said.

There have been an alarming increase in Covid cases in Bihar in the past two weeks. On 18th April 8,690 more people were tested positive for the Covid virus. This was a new high of single-day cases in Bihar, taking the overall caseload to 3,24,117. Also, 27 patients succumbed to the deadly virus, taking the toll to 1,749.

Another worrying trend for Bihar is the infection rate. The rate of infection in Bihar is 50 per cent more than the national average.

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri is consulting editor of BiharConnect. He has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, having worked for diverse media streams in India and abroad.

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