The Bihar government has decided that migrant workers returning to the state from Tuesday will not be tested for the coronavirus or sent to institutional quarantine, The Indian Express reported. Thermal screening at railway stations will also be discontinued, but there will be a medical desk to treat those who feel unwell.

Over 13 lakh migrant workers who returned to Bihar till Monday have been registered and quarantined in over 5,000 centres. The state government has decided to close all centres after June 15, when the 14-day quarantine of the last batch of registered migrants ends.

The Centre on May 1 started over 300 special trains for migrant labourers to return to their hometowns. Over 80% of the returnees are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“Foreign experts have concluded that home quarantine is the best quarantine,” Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi claimed on Monday. “Yet, we have run quarantine centres giving migrants all kinds of facilities, including reimbursement of train and bus fare and necessary items kit worth Rs 1,000.”

The state has so far recorded 3,926 cases of the coronavirus, including 24 deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Opposition parties lashed out at the Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party government for the decision. “At a time when infection has been on the rise, there was urgency to run these quarantine centres for those coming from danger-zone states,” All India Congress Committee Secretary Chandan Yadav said. “All those coming back now would mingle with the population and would further threaten to spread infection.”

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav claimed that the BJP is focused on the upcoming state elections instead of controlling the spread of Covid-19. “When people have been dying of Covid infection and hunger and are still walking back home, the NDA [National Democratic Alliance] has been thinking of election in Bihar,” he said. “The BJP is planning a digital rally on June 9. This alone shows the insensitivity of the state government.”

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