Cyclone Amphan | Coronavirus quarantine centres back to being cyclone shelters in Odisha

People undergoing mandatory quarantine sent home to free centres for evacuees

May 20, 2020 10:59 pm | Updated May 21, 2020 01:45 am IST - BHUBANESWAR

Safe space:  People gathered at a cyclone relief centre in Paradip, Odisha.

Safe space: People gathered at a cyclone relief centre in Paradip, Odisha.

Super cyclone Amphan may have driven a vast majority of people and the governments of two States into a frenzy. But there have been unintended beneficiaries too.

Also read: Amphan: Heavy rain, wind hit coastal districts of Odisha

Hundreds of people, who had recently returned from other States and were required to undergo 21 days of mandatory institutional quarantine to prevent COVID-19 pandemic spread, were sent home prematurely.

In Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, COVID-19 tests of 1000 people put up in quarantine centres were fast-tracked. They were asked to undergo home quarantine after they tested negative.

“There are 117 cyclone shelters in Kendrapara. We had converted eight of them into temporary medical centres, as required under COVID-19 management. When the Amphan threat loomed large, we needed these shelters,” said Samarth Verma, Kendrapara district collector. “We sent 250 people to their homes after their test results came back negative. Their fellow villagers should not have any problem, as they have reports of the tests in hand,” said Mr. Verma.

Also read: 3 lakh evacuated as cyclone Amphan hurtles towards Bengal coast

Kendrapara district administration had completely sanitized cyclone shelters before throwing them open to people evacuated from low lying areas.

In neighbouring Jagatsinghpur district, 815 people quarantined in temporary medical centres were discharged early as these centres were needed to house people facing cyclone threat.

As many as 37 quarantine centres were reconverted to cyclone shelters.

The Jagatsinghpur district administration, however, took written undertakings from those being discharged prematurely that they would complete the remaining quarantine period at home. People were released from quarantine centres in Balasore and Bhadrak, which were affected by Amphan.

Odisha government had made it mandatory for all those returning from other States to undergo 21 days of institutional quarantine and seven days of home quarantine.

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