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Odisha announces 14-day lockdown from May 5

Senior citizens stand in the queue to enter inside the vaccination center in Bhubaneswar.   | Photo Credit: BISWARANJAN ROUT

Amidst growing concerns over the steep rise in COVID-19 cases, the Odisha government on Sunday announced a two-week lockdown in the State from May 5 to 19.

Apart from the lockdown there will be a complete shutdown on weekends from 6 p.m. on Fridays to 5 a.m. on Mondays, said the government’s notification here.

“The situation is extremely frightening. No one is able to predict where the second wave is going to stop. The patient load in the country has gone up by six times in April. Similarly, active cases in Odisha were around 2,500 at the beginning of April and now they are over 65,000. In last week alone, active cases have gone up by 50,000,” said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra.

Stating that the growing active cases would put the healthcare system under severe strain, he said, “though the State has not reached a critical stage as far as bed and oxygen availability are concerned, the demand is rapidly rising.”

Despite several restrictive measures taken in past few weeks, the test positivity rate continued to rise and it was due to movement of working population, Mr. Mohapatra said.

“A majority of the population in Odisha is still unaffected by the pandemic. We need to break the chain of infection which is affecting the working population. Many public health experts have urged an immediate lockdown. Keeping these factors in mind, we have announced a lockdown,” the Chief Secretary said.

“The lockdown is primarily aimed at restricting movement of persons. Movement of goods and goods carrier will not be affected by the lockdown,” the notification says. Vaccination and testing drives have been kept out of the purview of the lockdown.

All buses under the public transport system will not ply while intra-State movement of individuals, except for medical reasons or for activities permitted under guidelines, has been completely prohibited during lockdown.

Marriage and funerals with restricted participation will be allowed with prior approval from local authorities.

People can get their essential needs, including grocery and vegetables, from the market area between 6 a.m. and 12 noon. The vendors have, however, been asked to maintain physical distance. Restaurants and roadside eateries can function for takeaway and home delivery.

All educational institutes will remain closed except the authorised ones. All India examinations which require physical presences of examinees can be allowed with formal authorisation. Newspaper delivery has been allowed between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Agriculture and related activities can go on as usual. Banks and other financial institutions have been permitted to operate with reduced manpower.

Odisha on Sunday reported 8,015 fresh cases, taking the tally to 4,62,622. After the recovery of 8,001 persons, the total active cases stands at 69,453. As many as 14 persons succumbed to the disease taking the toll to 2,068.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:01:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-announces-14-day-lockdown-from-may-5/article34463091.ece

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