In a concerning development, over 170 Sikh pilgrims returning from Nanded have tested positive for novel-coronavirus in the state of Punjab taking the total tally to over 550, reports ABP news.
As per official figures, nearly 3,500 pilgrims were expected to arrive from Takht Sri Hazur Sahib in Nanded where they were stranded due to the lockdown. A majority of them have reached Punjab in batches in government-arranged buses.
Likewise, 1,400 labourers and nearly 3,000 students who were studying in coaching institutes of Kota returned to the state, a government official told IANS.
The Health Department has decided to quarantine all returnees from outside the state for 21 days.
"The pilgrims returning from Sri Hazur Sahib is a big challenge. The Maharashtra government didn't take steps to prevent the Covid-19 spread by testing those who were embarking upon the journey to Punjab," Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said.
"We are taking all the necessary steps to contain coronavirus by examining and testing of all the returnees to Punjab. It's our duty to bring them back," he said.
After non-resident Indians (NRIs), foreign travellers and Tablighi Jamaat attendees, it's now the pilgrims returning from the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and the students that are posing a serious challenge to the state administration, said an official.
"Our medical system is in place to screen all those who are returning to the state after remaining stranded at various destinations across the country since the lockdown (March 24)," Special Chief Secretary K.B.S. Sidhu, who is in-charge of monitoring state-wide coronavirus cases, told the media.
Earlier, Sidhu said, in the case of Tablighi Jamaat attendees, there was problem of tracing their whereabouts.
"Now we have contact details of all people who are returning to the state along with their travel history. It is our duty to give them the best of the treatment on return," he added.
(With IANS Inputs)
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