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Coronavirus | Odisha announces lockdown in 5 districts till March 29

Road leading to Shree Jagannath temple is seen deserted on the eve of “Janata Curfew” at Puri in Odisha on March 21, 2020.

Road leading to Shree Jagannath temple is seen deserted on the eve of “Janata Curfew” at Puri in Odisha on March 21, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

‘Near complete’ lockdown focussed on areas where persons who have returned from foreign travel are mostly based

The Odisha government on Saturday announced a ‘near complete’ lockdown in five districts and eight urban centres till March 29, beginning from Sunday.

Also read | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The districts and towns have been identified on the basis of distribution of 3,200 people, who have returned from foreign countries. These returning travellers have been placed either in home quarantine or institutional isolation. Of the 69 samples tested so far in the State, two persons were found to be positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The districts include Khurda, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapara and Angul and the towns are Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Jajpur Road, Jajpur Town and Bhadrak — altogether representing about 40% of the State’s geographical area. About 70% of the foreign returnees belong to these areas.

“In the first phase, we are going for a near complete lockdown in all these areas from 7 a.m. on Sunday to 9 p.m. of March 29,” said Chief Minister Naveen Pantaik, making an announcement on the decision. He appealed to the public to avoid coming out of their homes except to avail absolutely essential services.

Airports, the railways, bus stands and essential services have been exempted from the lockdown. All service providers, including from the private sector, engaged in COVID-19 relief work have been declared emergency workers.

Also read | ‘Heat is not a deterrent for transmission’: Your COVID-19 queries answered

The administration, police, health, fire, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, electricity, water, municipal services, banks, ATMs and petrol pumps would remain open during this period.

All distribution of benefits such as pension and PDS have been postponed for the time being. District Collectors are empowered to add or delete any sector and service to this list based on local assessment.

“The numbers of positive cases are rising in India,” observed Mr. Patnaik. “ We have a very small window to take pre-emptive action. There is no cure for this virus. The only cure is prevention. It is only if you go out of your home that you may bring the virus to your home and your neighbourhood,” he said.

Giving examples of China and some other countries that had reversed the trend only through this strategy, the CM said, “in fact, Wuhan which was the nerve centre has no more infections today. Their hospitals are free. They made people stay at home and come out only for essential services.

Also read | Coronavirus | Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik requests Modi to postpone NPR, Census-related work

“These are extraordinary times we all have to pitch in. The police cannot enforce this everywhere. We have to see it as our responsibility to protect our lives. It is the duty of the community, specifically sarpanches and elected representatives and other community leaders to keep a close watch and monitor this lockdown,” he said.

Mr. Patnaik warned that the administration would take tough action against anyone found violating the lockdown and risking not only one’s life but also those of the family members and the people of Odisha.

Private companies have been advised to encourage work from home. In case they cannot do so and need to continue, they need to get a certificate from the concerned Collector allowing them to do so.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 7:36:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-odisha-announces-lockdown-in-5-districts-till-march-29/article31129340.ece

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