Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said the high population density of the state makes it more vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. Last month, a three-member central team, which visited Bihar to assess the coronavirus situation, had warned that the state’s low testing rate may affect its case fatality rate – the number of deaths among the cases detected.
“There is definitely a threat to Bihar [from the coronavirus] as our population density is highest in the country,” the chief minister said in the state Assembly. “It is three-fold of the national average and hence we need to remain alert and cautious. It is our responsibility to increase the level of awareness among the people. Though the government is taking all possible measures to contain the spread.”
The Opposition parties have criticised the ruling National Democratic Alliance and Kumar for not taking necessary steps to tackle the escalating health crisis. However, the chief minister said the infection has spread everywhere in the world and is not a political matter.
Kumar urged Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary to constitute an all party committee to discuss how to improve the coronavirus situation in the state. He added that the frontline healthcare workers will be given one month of basic salary as incentive for fighting the pandemic.
However, Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said the state government has failed to create a robust health infrastructure in the last 15 years. “Members are aghast,” he said, referring to the central team’s visit. “What they saw in Patna when they visited multiple hospitals that bodies of Covid-19 patients unattended lying on beds and corridor. Doctors are not going near the patients because they don’t have PPE kits. Doctors fear that who will treat them if they get infected.The whole system has collapsed.”
Bihar, so far, has reported 336 deaths and the tally of cases neared the 60,000-mark, according to the state’s health bulletin.