Muzaffarpur: Bihar seems to be pulling out all the stops to deal with any possible outbreak of the COVID-19.
Prisoners in the central jail in Muzaffarpur are working overtime to produce face- masks that help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The masks will be used for protection to fellow inmates and prison staff, and also be shared with nine district and sub jails falling under Muzaffarpur Central Prison as well, Deputy Superintendent of the jail Sunil Kumar Maurya said.
This north Bihar district is witnessing invocation of all powers, human and otherwise, to prevent novel coronavirus hitting them, it is learnt.
One person has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus in Bihar, where the state government has imposed a semi-lockdown as a preventive measure. Muzaffarpur which hit the headlines last year for losing close to 200 children to an outbreak of brain fever seems determined not to fall prey to yet another virulent affliction.
The Deputy Superintendent of the jail said, “We have had a tradition of producing fabric at the Muzaffarpur Central Jail. An idea was floated why not use the skills acquired for producing masks which are in great demand but in short supply.”
The local administration seems impressed with the endeavour of the jail inmates to rise to a global challenge.
“It is a welcome step. Despite all precautions, we never know who is going to catch the infection at which place. The efforts by prisoners to protect themselves and the staff manning their premises is laudable.”
“Full assistance will be provided to Central Jail authorities in supply of the masks to other prisons,” Sub Divisional Magistrate (East) Kundan Kumar said.
Meanwhile, the health authorities are busy with their own efforts. District Medical Officer Shailesh Kumar Singh says a total of 42 people here who have come from abroad, have been tested but their results have been negative.
“Nonetheless, a five-bed special ward has been set up at the Sadar Hospital, manned by medical staff armed with a special kit comprising medicines and other logistics required for primary care of those with suspected symptoms,” he said.
The SKMCH referral hospital, which bore the brunt of last years brain fever epidemic accounting for over 120 deaths is fully geared up to meet the latest challenge.
SKMCH superintendent Sunil Shahi says “we have a 30- bed isolation ward ready. Samples of patients with suspected symptoms are being routinely sent to RMRI, Patna. We appeal to all to remain alert, but avoid panic”.