The corona pandemic in Uttar Pradesh is now shifting patterns. Apart from cities like Lucknow, Kanpur in central Uttar Pradesh and Ghaziabad and Greater Noida in the western part of the state that continue to throw up new cases every day, it is now cities and semi-urban centres in eastern side of the state that are turning into corona hotspots.
This is mainly due to the large number of the migrant workers who have arrived in this region during the past ten days.
State health minister Jai Pratap Singh has said that 1,423 migrant workers who returned to Uttar Pradesh in recent days, have tested positive for corona.
This constitutes 40 per cent of the total cases in the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh, he said. The Sultanpur district which had only five cases of corona, now has 41 cases, 15 of which were reported on Saturday.
In Jaunpur district, 43 migrant workers have tested positive while in Barabanki that reported 95 corona positive cases in a day on May 21, 49 were migrant workers.
In Jaunpur, 43 migrant workers who had returned last week, were tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday, taking the district's total to 91. Most of them had come back from Maharashtra.
Siddhartha Nagar, which was corona free till last month, now has 77 cases after the migrant influx began. In Azamgarh, at least 10 out of 31 corona positive cases are migrant workers who have returned from Maharashtra.
Districts like Sant Kabir Nagar, Varanasi, Ballia and Chandauli have also reported a spurt in corona cases after the return of migrant workers. All 75 districts in the state are now affected by corona.
State minister for health, Jai Pratap Singh said, "Most of the migrants who were infected have returned from states like Maharashtra and Gujarat. We have increased our daily testing capacity to over 7,000 samples."
He said that according to estimates, around 17 lakh migrant workers have returned to Uttar Pradesh via trains and buses. He said that samples of over 50,000 have been tested so far.
A senior official in the health department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the spurt in cases was mainly due to those migrant workers who had travelled on foot and had managed to escape medical screening.
"Lakhs of migrants have come by trains and buses and an equal number -- if not more --have come on foot or by cycles, autos and trucks. They have evaded medical screenings and their entry into the state is not recorded. Majority of them have not quarantined themselves and this is causing the spread of the corona infection," he said.
Talking about the new pattern of corona spread which is centered around eastern Uttar Pradesh, the official said that since this region was comparatively backward, a large population had migrated to other states in the past years.
"Maximum number of private security guards and taxi drivers in Mumbai are from this region. Now that they are returning in large numbers, many of them are bringing the infection with them. Moreover, many of them are malnourished and have low immunity levels, which makes them increasingly susceptible to the infection," he said.