The Lockdown which was imposed in Bihar over a month ago to curb the spread of COVID-19 has been partially lifted from today. The lockdown was imposed on May 5 when the state was reporting about 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 on a daily basis.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said that lockdown will be lifted from June 9. The announcement came at a time when the state has been recording less than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases daily for the past few days.
Kumar made the announcement of the unlocking process after a review meeting of the crisis management group to assess the pandemic situation in the state. The night curfew will still remain in place from 7 pm to 5 am.
The government authorities held continuous review meetings to implement the lockdown effectively coupled with speedy testing and vaccination drives. The state government focused on five key areas for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic to an extent within 35-days of lockdown.
Extension of lockdown period: The effective implementation of lockdown brought down the number of new COVID-19 cases in the state.
The first phase of the lockdown was from May 5-15. During this period, 1,07,774 new COVID-19 cases were reported. The second phase was from May 16-25 during which 50,711 new COVID-19 cases were reported. The third phase was from May 26 to June 1, in which 12,209 new cases of coronavirus were reported, while the fourth phase was from June 2-8, in which 5,648 new COVID-19 cases were reported.
Due to the extended lockdown between May 5 and June 8, the speed of spread of COVID-19 was brought down significantly.
Continuous review of lockdown: After the first phase of lockdown, the government made amendments in the next phases as needed. By issuing separate orders for the extension of the lockdown period, the government asked the authorities to step up efforts for strict implementation of guidelines. It also provided some relaxation when the situation started improving a bit.
Emphasis on COVID-19 testing: Government authorities made efforts to ramp up the COVID-19 testing so that the infected people can be detected and can be treated on time. Through testing, the government made efforts to isolate COVID-19 positive patients to prevent the spread of infection.
Testing was arranged from hospitals to public places. Effective steps were taken to test people coming from other states at railway stations, bus stands, and airports. Apart from this, mobile vans were also dispatched for RT-PCR tests in rural areas. According to the health department’s data, so far 37,76,332 COVID-19 samples have been tested. The number of active COVID-19 cases in the state has now come down to 7,897.
Vaccination: The government started Tika Express to speed up the process of COVID-19 vaccination. Tika Express is a mobile van that carries healthcare staff to far-flung areas offering free vaccination on-site to residents. While flagging off the Tika Express, CM Kumar had said, “Tika Express will help people get vaccinated against COVID-19. Our aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible.”
The government has recently made arrangements for 24 hours vaccination in two centers in Patna -Patliputra Sports Complex and Patliputra Ashoka Hotel.
Use of technology: CM Kumar had launched the Home Isolation Tracking (HIT) App. Through this app, the authorities can keep an eye on the condition of COVID-19 patients recuperating at their homes. By using the app, health authorities can also check whether the COVID-19 infected patients are following the isolation guidelines properly or not.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also praised this app during video conferencing with Patna DM Chandrasekhar Singh.