Three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and Odisha -- have been identified as potential hotspots of the coronavirus in the coming days. The surge of the disease, sources said, is expected to happen with the return of the migrant labourers from all parts of India, which started last week. It is suspected that the cases might spike in these states in absence if adequate testing facilities.
At a virtual meeting held today with health ministers of the three states, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked them to increase their testing facilities. Intensive testing becomes crucial in view of government guidelines under which people with no symptoms of coronavirus can board a train and go into home quarantine once they reach their destination. Many patients in the country are asymptomatic.
Already, 20 fresh cases of coronavirus were detected in Odisha. The infected persons were migrant labourers who returned from Surat in Gujarat --the state that is second only to Maharashtra in terms of the number of coronavirus cases. Three of the patients were detected in Odisha's Mayurbhanj and 17 in Ganjam districts.
Odisha so far had 185 cases of coronavirus, y65 patients have recovered, two have died.
Bengal has been under the Centre's scanner for several weeks following allegations of lockdown violation and fudged figures of coronavirus. After the visit of a Central team to check the ground situation, the Centre wrote to the state, saying it has the highest rate of COVID-19 fatalities, low rate of testing and worrying instances of attacks on frontline workers battling the disease.
Of the 1,456 coronavirus patients in Bengal, 364 patients have recovered and 144 have died.
In Uttar Pradesh, the big worry is because of the sheer numbers. The state is expecting around 7 lakh migrants, of which 5 lakh is back since the lockdown started on March 25.
With the running of the migrant trains from all corners of the country, it is expecting another 2 lakh migrants to come in. While the state has quarantine facilities for 10 lakh people, only those showing symptoms of coronavirus are being put in institutional quarantine. The rest are being asked to stay in home quarantine as per the central guidelines.
Uttar Pradesh so far has 2,998 cases of coronavirus, 60 patients have died and 1,130 have recovered.