As many as 17 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Bihar on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 143, a top official said here.
The state has seen a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases since Monday, with 47 people testing positive for the infection in three days. While 17 fresh coronavirus cases were reported on Monday, 13 people had tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Principal Secretary, Health, Sanjay Kumar said among the 17 fresh cases reported on Wednesday, eight are from Patna, four from Bhagalpur, three from Bihar Sharif (Nalanda district) and one each from East Champaran and Banka -- the first in the two districts.
Bhagalpur COVID-19 Nodal Officer Hemshakar Sharma said the patients include a doctor from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital (JNMCH). Though he was not deputed in the hospital's coronavirus ward, it is suspected that he caught the infection in the emergency ward.
Another patient from the district is a migrant worker in his early 30s, who had returned from Mumbai. He began his journey on April 18, reached Bhagalpur two days later and was kept at the isolation ward in JNMCH.
A 40-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman are also among those who tested positive in Bhagalpur. Their travel history is not known and they were tested after they showed symptoms of coronavirus.
In Patna, the Khajpura locality has emerged as a veritable hotspot with six more residents, four men and two women, testing positive for COVID-19.
A 31-year-old man had tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday and a 32-year-old woman, admitted to AIIMS, Patna for breathing trouble, had tested positive on Saturday last.
Patna District Magistrate Kumar Ravi said all residents of Khajpura have been asked not to venture out of their houses. They will, however, be given a two-hour relaxation daily between 9 am and 11 am to purchase essential items from shops identified with the help of the ward councilor.
No resident will, however, be allowed to step outside the locality nor those from elsewhere will be allowed entry in Khajpura, he added.
A 42-year-old resident of Jagdeopath, which is adjacent to Khajpura, has also tested positive.
Besides, a 35-year-old resident of Bakhtiyarpur block in rural Patna has tested positive. The principal secretary clarified that the patient hailed from Salimpur village falling under the block and not a locality by the same name in the city.
In Bihar Sharif, the headquarters of Nalanda district, two women aged 26 and 70, and a 24-year-old man have tested positive for coronavirus, principal secretary Kumar said.
The patient from East Champaran district is a 25-year-old man from Phenhara block. However, Additional District Magistrate (Disaster Management) Anil Kumar said there was no cause for alarm since the man has not been to his village in a long time.
He said the man worked in Mumbai and he tested positive at his in-laws' place in the adjoining Sheohar district.
In Banka, a 45-year-old resident of Amarpur police station area tested positive.
However, District Magistrate Suharsh Bhagat clarified that the COVID-19 patient, who belongs to Kosalpur village, could not enter the district upon his return to Bihar from Maharashtra last week.
He said the villager, who was accompanied by two others, was quarantined at Bhagalpur where he reached on April 18 on his way home. Reports of the remaining two have been negative so far.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said in a statement, "There has been a perceptible rise in coronavirus cases. But there is no need to worry... I would appeal to the people to follow the lockdown in earnest. This would help us in breaking the chain."
With 31 cases, Nalanda is the worst affected district in Bihar, surpassing Siwan which has reported 29 cases.
The COVID-19 outbreak has affected 17 of the state's 38 districts.
Two people, one each from Munger and Vaishali districts, have died due to the coronavirus.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)