Two migrant workers, whose samples were collected after they breathed their last in different districts of Bihar recently, have tested positive for COVID-19, raising the death toll in the state to 15, officials said on Tuesday. The total number of positive cases, meanwhile, rose to 2,968 with 231 cases being reported during the day. A 40-year-old man from Nalanda district, who returned from Noida on May 20 and died at a hospital in Pawapuri town four days later, has tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus, Civil Surgeon Ram Singh said.
He said the deceased, who belonged to a village in Nalanda, had been lodged at a quarantine centre in Bihar Sharif, the district headquarter town, but was rushed to the Pawapuri-based facility upon developing severe symptoms of fever and cough.
He died within hours of being admitted to Pawapuri hospital on Sunday afternoon, the civil surgeon said, adding that tests conducted locally, by Truenat, suggested that he was COVID 19 positive, following which his sample was collected for comprehensive testing to Patna, which confirmed the infection.
The results triggered panic in the area with family members refusing to attend the funeral, which was conducted by the administration.
An FIR has been registered against an ambulance driver who refused to drive the vehicle, carrying the body for cremation, the Civil Surgeon said, adding the body was preserved till results from the state capital confirmed the COVID-19 status.
Another migrant in his late 30s, who was declared brought dead at the Sadar hospital in Jehanabad district on May 23, has also tested positive for COVID 19, Civil Surgeon Vijay Kumar Sinha said.
He said the deceased hailed from East Champaran district and was said to have left for his home district on foot on May 19 from Maharashtra.
Hitching rides on trucks en route, he reached Karmanasha station – situated along Bihar's border with Uttar Pradesh –- and boarded an intra-state train to reach his home district.
"He lost consciousness on the train and when co-passengers raised an alarm at Jehanabad station, he was deboarded by police and taken to hospital where he was declared as having been brought dead.
"Contact-tracing is on for all those who might have travelled in the same compartment as he did. The body has been sent to East Champaran with due precautions for burial," Sinha added.
The state Health Department has updated its records with regard to the Nalanda casualty, registering it as the 14th fatality caused by the pandemic in the state. The process was underway for the death in Jehanabad.
Meanwhile, the number of fresh cases continued to rise rapidly in the state, which has been attributed largely to the massive influx of migrants from other parts of the country since the beginning of this month.
Patna district, the worst affected in the state, reported six fresh cases which caused its tally to reach 217. Among those testing positive, four were personnel of the Bihar Military Police.
The second-worst affected district, Rohtas, was rocked by an explosion of 35 fresh cases which caused its tally to breach the 200-mark.
Those testing positive in the district, which has reported a total of 201 cases, included four children under five years of age, the youngest being a one-year-old boy, according to figures made available by the health department.
A boy and a girl, both a year-old, were among 31 people testing positive in the remote north Bihar district of Madhubani, which now ranks third with 176 cases.
Significant numbers of cases were also reported from districts like Darbhanga, Banka, Sheikhpura and Kishanganj.
In addition to the three worst-affected districts, Begusarai, Munger, Khagaria, Katihar, Buxar and Jehanabad have tallies in three digits. None of the 38 districts in the state has a tally below 10.
The districts reporting casualties -- other than the two latest ones -- are Patna, Vaishali and Khagaria (two each) and Rohtas, East Champaran, Munger, Sitamarhi, Saran and Siwan (one each).
Altogether 800 people have recovered after having tested positive.
As per the state health department, the number of migrant workers testing positive since May 03 was 1,900, which is roughly 80 per cent of the total number of cases reported during the period.
Returnees from Maharashtra (447), Delhi (428), Gujarat (287), Haryana (166) Uttar Pradesh (103), Rajasthan (102), West Bengal (85) and Telangana (84) comprise a major chunk of migrants testing positive.
According to Anupam Kumar, Secretary for Information and Public Relations Department, 15.41 lakh migrant workers have come back to Bihar during the lockdown by 1,026 Shramik Specials so far and another 5.29 lakh are scheduled to arrive soon in 321 special trains.
(With PTI inputs)