Since its outbreak in India in January this year, people in India have been constantly informed that the virus is transmitted via person to person contact which makes it important for everyone to maintain social distance.

Not just for their family members but also for the rest of people in town. Seems like the warning couldn’t reach the residents of Bihar where a man is responsible for infecting close to one-third people in the state.  

The chain of infection started from a man who returned from Oman to his home in Siwan’s Panjwar village on March 16. He tested positive for COVID-19 on April 4 and by then he had travelled to many areas in the district infecting close to thirty more people in the district.  

Later, twenty-two others in the family including women and children were tested positive. Most of them did not show any symptoms of the highly contagious disease. 

As of now, the district has reported 31 coronavirus patients which is over half of the state’s total cases. Four of the 23 family members have recovered, but they will remain under quarantine for the next two weeks. Test results of 10 others in the family are yet to come.  

The family is now responsible for infecting nearly a third of Bihar’s 60 coronavirus cases have been reported from one family in Siwan district, a COVID-19 hotspot about 130 km from state capital Patna. This has led the government to take strict measures and around Forty-three villages have been sealed in the district.

Bihar, as compared to other states in India is considered to be better off with 60 positive case and one death but considering the rise in the number of cases, apart from Siwan, the state has sealed borders of two other districts, Begusarai and Nawada that recorded the highest number of cases across the state.  

According to the Bihar government, over 1.7 lakh people have returned to the state, and some 27,000 were put up in various quarantine centres across the state. Village school and panchayat buildings have been converted to quarantine centres.

However, what is worrying is that there have been several reports of some of these migrant workers heading home to their families for the night and then returning to the quarantine facilities in the morning.  

While it is commendable that the state started the universal testing soon after the residents returned from any foreign country and was able to track the man down, it is also important for the residents to realise their responsibilities to contain the spread of virus. Which seems to be failing.