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New Delhi: In the wake of increasing number of coronavirus cases, total lockdown will be imposed in Bihar from 16 to 31 July, said Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday.

"There is no medicine or vaccine for corona. We have to ensure that we cover our faces with masks, handkerchiefs or towels," he said.

Guidelines are being prepared, said Modi, ANI reported. Only emergency services will be allowed during this 15-day lockdown period and all shops, malls and religious places will be shut, said local news reports.

On Tuesday, the overall coronavirus tally in the state rose to 18,853 with record 1,432 new cases in the last 24 hours.

The state reported nine Covid-19 fatalities on Monday, raising the death toll to 134.

The tally of coronavirus has risen by over 1,000 for the third consecutive day. On Sunday, the state had witnessed the biggest single-day spike of 1,266 cases.

Out of the new 1,432 cases, the maximum number of 162 new coronavirus cases were from Patna district.

District Magistrate Kumar Ravi has ordered closure of at least three wholesale vegetable markets Mithapur, Kankarbagh and Rajendra Nagar.

In Begusarai, 114 more people have tested positive, followed by 107 in Nalanda, 61 in Bhagalpur, 54 in Muzaffarpur, 48 in Munger and 50 in Gaya.

So far, 12,364 people have recovered in the state from the coronavirus infection.

More than 20 people, including four senior office-bearers of the BJP, have tested positive for COVID-19 at the party's headquarters, said its Bihar unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal on Tuesday.

Reports in a section of the media here, however, stated that the number of people found infected was as high as 75.

Jaiswal, nonetheless, maintained "only 24 samples are positive. These reports are of preliminary rapid tests and we are still awaiting the results of the comprehensive QT-RPR. None of those who have tested positive are having any symptoms. Yet, by way of abundant caution, they have all quarantined themselves at home".

He said the samples were collected on Monday upon the request of the party office, after it was learnt that a person who visited the premises recently had tested positive.

On Monday, Shailesh Kumar, the minister of the Rural Works Department, tested positive for Covid-19, the second member of the cabinet to have contracted the disease. He is placed in home quarantine.

His close aides said the minister did not suffer from any symptoms but had got himself tested as a precautionary measure after he recently toured his Jamalpur assembly segment in Munger district.

The minister's wife has tested negative, though one of the domestic helps at his residence had been found positive.

Earlier, Backward and Extremely Backward Classes Welfare Minister Vinod Kumar Singh and his wife were found infected with the virus.

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