Other States

More than 130 BSF jawans in Odisha suspected to have tested COVID-19 positive

They are believed to have contracted the virus in public transport systems while returning from home States

The Border Security Force deployed in the southern districts of Odisha for anti-Naxal operations has been hit badly by COVID-19 with more than 130 jawans suspected to have tested positive.

The jawans were believed to have contracted the virus in public transport systems while returning from their home States after the lockdown restrictions were lifted. They went home on leave and were stranded due to the lockdown.

“The State government has made 14 days of quarantine mandatory. But we have taken extra precaution by asking them to undergo 21 days. All positive cases have been reported from the quarantine centres. We are taking steps for their speedy recovery,” said an officer.

He said, “Most of our personnel are asymptomatic. A small group of jawans showing symptoms has been separated.”

Earlier, 53 jawans including 29 from the Malkangiri district were infected. During the past 48 hours, more than 130 jawans tested positive taking the tally closer to 200, a reliable source said.

Positive cases likely to increase

The jawans have used multiple transport systems as the southern districts such as Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nabarangpur are not connected directly by air and rail. The positive cases in the Central armed police force are likely to increase as the jawans continue to return to their workplace following relaxations in the public transport system.

Odisha has adopted a graded approach for districts depending on the status of the spread of the disease and vulnerability while promulgating a set of guidelines until midnight of July 31.

In 10 districts such as Ganjam, Gajapati, Khordha, Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Mayurbhan, Keonjhar and Jharsuguda, local authorities may impose restrictions on intra-district public and private transport and closure of shops and establishments, and movement or assembly of people as deemed appropriate. The weekend shutdown on Saturdays and Sundays will continue for the 10 districts in July.

Only medical establishments, movement of ambulance and all medical personnel, police and other emergency services will be allowed. Night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. will continue across the State.

Schools, colleges and other educational institutions will remain closed for teaching till August 31. Examinations and evaluation will be permitted.

Quarantine period for returnees

The quarantine period for returnees will be limited to 14 days. This will be implemented by local authorities. Returnees in rural areas will undergo 14 days of mandatory institutional quarantine. In case one develops symptoms in quarantine requiring medical attention, he or she may be shifted to the COVID Care Centre.

Similarly, returnees in urban areas will have to compulsorily stay in home quarantine for 14 days. Sarpanchs have been asked to establish and manage the COVID Care Homes at the gram panchayat for isolation and treatment of symptomatic cases.

The government has announced strict enforcement of wearing of masks and social distancing. The religious institutions will continue to remain closed. Government offices will function with 50% staff.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2020 9:26:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/more-than-130-bsf-jawans-in-odisha-suspected-to-have-tested-covid-19-positive/article31964794.ece

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