Migrant workers tested positive for COVID-19

Migrant workers tested positive for COVID-19

14 migrant workers were tested positive for Coronavirus who came to Chattisgarh from five states on 3rd May; 2020[1]. Three more migrants were tested positive previously, which took the toll to 17[2]. This lead to the decision that 200 people were quarantined who travelled with these positive cases of COVID-19 through special Shramik trains.

8 of the COVID-19 positive cases were from Durg district whereas the other 6 were from the Kabirdham District. All the COVID-19 positive migrants are admitted to AIIMS Raipur. The COVID-19 tested positive cases were from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal.

Ajay Yadav, Superintendent of Police told that All the other 200 persons who came either in direct or in indirect contact with the positive cases of COVID-19 are quarantined to contain the further spread of virus to districts where health sector is not capable enough to deal with more positive cases. The State is keeping a watchful eye for everyone coming from outside. Every person is being tested and quarantined.

However, Chattisgarh is not the only state which has witnessed COVID-19 positive cases among migrant workers. The Uttar Pradesh Government has witnessed 7 positive cases of migrant workers who came back from Maharashtra, a day before the arrival of ‘Shramik Special’ train from Nasik[3]. In Bengaluru, 9 migrant workers, living in a slum were tested positive for COVID-19. These 9 migrant workers were the roommates of a 54 year old migrant worker (contract worker in BMRCL) from Bihar who was tested positive.

With COVID-19 penetrating in slum areas or among migrant workers, it is even more difficult to contain the spread of the virus for various reasons. Migrants in slum areas and quarantine already depend on relief schemes for their survival during the lockdown. Hence, no one can expect them to purchase a bottle of hand sanitizer costing Rs. 100 or masks that are also exorbitantly charged. Also, slums are congested and migrants who have returned to their home states are desperate to go back to their homes and live with their families. It is not easy to maintain social distancing and hygiene in slums. Migrants who return to their home states try to escape from quarantine in order to meet their families. With such conditions, it is no easy job for government officials to contain the spread. There are other challenges as well before the state governments that is providing the migrants in slum and quarantine with food, drinking water, adequate supply of handwash, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves with 24×7 available health personnel who are capable enough to test these persons for COVID-19. However, the state governments will soon face a situation of cash crunch because the economy is closed and hence, no revenue is being generated when the states need to spend a lot on safety and health measures.

Article Written By- Muskan Sharma
Law Student– Jamia Millia Islamia
(HRDI Work From Home Internship)

[1] “200 quarantined in Chattisgarh after contact with COVID-19 +ve migrants”, Hindustan Times, available at: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/governance/covid-19-next-6-months-crucial-for-centre-to-support-migrant-workers-70878 (Last visited on 6th May; 2020)

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Seven migrant workers who returned from Maharashtra test COVID-19 positive in Uttar Pradesh”, Deccan Herald, available at: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/seven-migrant-workers-who-returned-from-maharashtra-test-covid-19-positive-in-uttar-pradesh-832713.html (Last visited on 6th May; 2020)