Uttar Pradesh will bring back labourers and workers who are stranded in other States and have completed 14 days of quarantine in a phased manner.
The U.P. government estimates that around 5 to 10 lakh migrant workers could return to the State in the next two months, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told district-level officials in a meeting on Friday evening.
Mr. Adityanath instructed officials on Friday to prepare a working plan and come up with details in this regard, his office said in a statement after a high-level meeting.
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“After screening and testing such people, the concerned State government should start the process of sending them back. After they are brought to the U.P. borders, the State government will transport them to their districts by bus,” said the government.
Mr. Adityanath asked officials to make preparations for keeping these migrants under 14 days of quarantine in their respective districts and to sanitise and vacate shelter homes well in time.
Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Awanish Awasthi, said the Chief Minister had instructed officials to send back migrants of other States who had completed 14 days of quarantine in U.P.
While some districts in U.P. had individually released the number of migrants living in them or their people living in other States, the government is yet to come up with a cumulative data.
The government’s move was praised by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. “I have been regularly pressing this issue and this is a significant step in that direction. To make this fully successful, a plan must also be made for the return of the other workers. If all of us cooperate with a positive attitude in national interest, then the fight against coronavirus will get a lot of strength”, she said in a tweet in Hindi.
After the U.P. government recently sent 300 buses to bring back its students stranded in Kota, Rajasthan, Opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, had stressed that something similar should be done for labourers and workers stuck in other States.
More than 8,000 students were brought back to the State, as per government estimates.
The death toll
Meanwhile, the death toll due to COVID-19 in the State touched 25, said the Directorate of Health Services. The total number of positive cases stood at 1,621, with the highest numbers in Agra (346), Lucknow (174), Kanpur (125), Saharanpur (123), Gautam Buddha Nagar (112), Moradabad (104), Meerut (86) and Firozabad (75).
Ayodhya became the 57th district in the State to record a positive case; a 25-year-old pregnant woman of Poorakalandar area tested positive at a private lab.
District Magistrate Anuj Jha said the staff and doctors of the hospital where she was being treated–she visited it first on April 19 before getting tested on April 22–along with her relatives were put under quarantine. “The corona positive lady is having no symptoms of the disease, she has no problems at the moment,” Mr. Jha said.
The village she was from had been sealed as per protocol and medical staff were going door to door for contact tracing, he said.
Deaths have also taken place in Agra (7), followed by Moradabad (5), Meerut (3), Kanpur (3) and one each in Bulandshahr, Basti, Varanasi, Aligarh, Lucknow and Firozabad.