COVID-19: Migrants Returning To Bihar Show High Positivity Rate, Hints At Big Asymptomatic Population In Delhi, BengalMigrants boarding train in Andhra Pradesh (@APPOLICE100/Twitter)

With migrant workers now returning homes, many public health experts are concerned about coronavirus reaching villages with them. Several migrant workers who have tested positive were asymptomatic, which has been the main cause of worry.

Bihar tested 8,337 samples of migrants until Monday (18 May) after they returned from various parts of the country, and nearly 8 per cent of them turned out to be COVID-19 positive. The figure is double the national average positivity rate of about 4 per cent of samples tested, The Indian Express reported.

The highest infection rate was among those who returned from Delhi.

Out of 835 samples tested of people who came back from the national capital, 218 were coronavirus infected with a positivity rate of 26 per cent. Surprisingly, the recorded average positivity rate in Delhi is only 7 per cent.

Like Delhi, the number of migrants who returned from other states like West Bengal and Haryana also tested positive in Bihar in high numbers and the positivity rate was significantly higher than it has been recorded in these states.

However, the number of migrants being tested from each state is not proportional to the number of people coming back from that state.

Bihar authorities tested 265 migrants who came back to state from West Bengal, out of which 33 were found to be positive. The positivity rate here was close to 12 per cent, while Bengal’s own rate is only 3 per cent.

Similarly, 36 people tested positive for the virus out of 390 samples that were taken from those who returned from Haryana. In this case, the positivity rate among returnees was found to be 9 per cent, whereas it is 1.16 per cent in Haryana.

These figures hint at lack of testing in Delhi and states like Bengal and Haryana and also point out that there is a large asymptomatic population in these regions. The data can also help authorities in these states in carrying out contact tracing of these migrant workers and check areas that might have been missed.

While the positivity rate among returnee migrant workers from some states was found to be higher than that of those states, it was similar among migrants returning from some other states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Of 1,283 samples tested from people who returned from Maharashtra, 141 were found to be infected with the virus. The positivity rate, in this case, was 11 per cent, which is close to Maharashtra’s own rate of 11.7 per cent.

The positivity rate among those who returned to Bihar from Gujarat was 6.8 per cent, while it is currently 7.9 per cent in Gujarat.

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