With coronavirus cases showing an upward trend in Maharashtra, people coming to Madhya Pradesh from the neighbouring state will be subjected to thermal screening to check for COVID-19, government officials said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan issued directives in this regard while reviewing the coronavirus situation in Madhya Pradesh at a meeting in the state secretariat.
Start health examination of persons coming in Madhya Pradesh through districts bordering Maharashtra, Mr Chouhan told officials at the meeting.
After the Chief Ministers order, the Home Department issued directives for authorities of districts bordering Maharashtra.
Madhya Pradesh, too, is witnessing a steady rise in new COVID-19 cases in the last few days.
One of the directives asked district collectors to ensure temperature-based screening of people coming from Maharashtra, where 6,971 new coronavirus cases were recorded on Sunday, the highest single-day count in nearly four months.
Thermal screening involves checking the body temperature of a person to ascertain if he/she has symptoms of viral infections.
The Home Department asked districts bordering Maharashtra to hold meeting of their crisis management group on Tuesday and take appropriate decisions in view of the prevailing coronavirus situation.
It said a large number of devotees from Maharashtra visit fairs in the central state organised on the occasion of Mahashivratri (which falls on March 11 this year).
Hence, the district-based crisis management groups should discuss essential measures during such religious fairs, the department said.
The department asked the district authorities to take action against those not wearing face masks and violating social distancing norms.
Earlier at the meeting, the chief minister said government staff should start an immediate campaign to create awareness about COVID-19 in rural areas of districts bordering Maharashtra, the officials said.
Mr Chouhan directed the officials to ensure mask mandate is strictly implemented in Indore and Bhopal, the districts affected the most by COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh, they said.
After registering a drop in COVID-19 cases for some weeks, the viral disease is again showing an upward trend in Madhya Pradesh, especially its industrial hub Indore, with health experts blaming people for lowering their guard against the pandemic.
Since the past one week, more than 200 COVID-19 cases are being reported daily in MP, prompting the state government to send some samples of patients to labs in Delhi and Pune to check whether a new variant of the virus has found its way into the state, a government official said.
In September 2020, Madhya Pradesh witnessed a daily count of more than 2,000 cases for 10 consecutive days, but the graph started going down by the year-end.
Earlier this month, the daily COVID-19 cases were below 200 in the state, but crossed the mark on February 14. Till Sunday evening, the state had reported a total of 2,59,427 COVID-19 cases and 3,854 deaths due to the disease.
On Sunday, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Bhopal, Director Dr Sarman Singh told PTI that the cases were rising as MP shares borders with Maharashtra, which has been badly hit by the pandemic. Besides, people have become complacent against the pandemic, he said.
Maharashtra has been reporting a spike in new COVID-19 cases in the last one week. On Sunday, the state recorded more than 6,000 for the third consecutive day. It had recorded over 6,000 cases after a gap of three months on Friday.