Altogether 224 inmates of overcrowded district jail here have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few days, sending the authorities into a tizzy, officials said on Friday. According to Civil Surgeon, Araria, M P Singh, a total of 224 inmates have tested positive. Reports of 182 had come out on Wednesday night, a day after 42 others were found infected.
This has triggered panic at the jailed premises which is bursting at the seams.
Jailor Pramod Das said, "the premises have a capacity of 600. But, at present we are accommodating 706 prisoners.
Nearly a third of them have been infected with the coronavirus. It is, indeed, a matter of concern.
Araria District Magistrate Prashanth Kumar C H said, "we are taking steps to decongest the jail premises. Some of the male and female prisoners are being shifted to Purnea and Dalsinghsarai in Samastipur respectively.
"This would help in maintaining social distancing and prevention of further spread of the contagion".
Situated in the remote north-eastern corner of Bihar, Araria had till Thursday reported 1549 cases, including nine deaths.
The district also has a below-average recovery rate with more than half (784) of the total number of cases being active.
Bihar's overall tally stands at 94,459, inclusive of 484 casualties. The recovery rate is 66.17 per cent.
Meanwhile, state health department officials in Patna said, a close watch will be kept among the inmates "most of whom are understood to have undergone rapid antigen tests.
"Samples of those with any symptoms will be collected again for RT-PCR, findings of which would determine further medical intervention".