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Odisha's 3 COVID-19 districts under curfew-like shutdown

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck
April 23, 2020 22:41 IST
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Stepping up its fight against coronavirus, the Odisha government imposed a curfew-like shutdown in three hotspot districts of Balasore, Bhadrak and Jajpur from 10 pm Thursday, to conduct active
surveillance and contact-tracing.

Announcing the decision, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said all activities will remain suspended for 60 hours -- till 10 am on April 26 during the shutdown, which will be akin to curfew.

During the period, all offices, shops and establishments in the three districts will remain closed except for hospitals, police department, fire and ambulance, railway and sea port cargo operation, water and electricity supply, goods carriers and vehicles used for combating the deadly virus.


Goods vehicles on national highways passing through these places will remain open.

Select petrol pumps, medicine stores and telecom, identified by the authorities, will be allowed to operate during the period, an order issued by the chief secretary said, adding all passes issued for the lockdown period will remain suspended during the shutdown.

The ongoing coronavirus-prompted lockdown in the rest 27 districts of the state will remain in force with the existing rules.

"We are compelled to take the extraordinary step because of the grim situation created following detection of a high number of 29 COVID cases in a span of only five days in these three districts," the chief secretary said.

Of the total 89 coronavirus cases reported so far in Odisha, 12 were detected in Jajpur, followed by 11 in Bhadrak and Balssore (10).

Of the total, 33 patients have recovered, whereas a 72-year-old patient from Bhubaneswar has died.

Almost all the confirmed COVID-19 patients in the three hotspot districts had either returned from West Bengal recently or had come in contact with returnees.

As one travels by train from Howrah to Puri, Balasore follows Bengal's Kharagpur junction; Bhadrak and Jajpur are in sequence after Balasore, while moving towards Bhubaneswar.

Tripathy said a similar shutdown clamped earlier in Bhubaneswar for 48 hours in the first week of this month had yielded good results as not a single coronavirus case has been found from the state
capital since April 14.

Stating that the situation in these three districts has become a cause of concern for the state, Tripathy said since most of the patients have West Bengal links, concrete steps have been taken to
seal the border with the neighbouring state.

As many as 27 platoons (one platoon comprises around 30 personnel) of force have been deployed on the border and more police personnel will be sent if necessary to stop people from sneaking into
Odisha territory, he said, adding many areas on Bengal border have also been barricaded.

Director General of Police Shri Abhay and senior officials have already reviewed the situation, he said, adding that active surveillance and contact-tracing will be undertaken during the period in these areas during the shutdown.

Sample testing in these areas will be increased at least three times and all primary and secondary contacts will be subjected to COVID test, he said, adding all probable contacts will have to undergo coronavirus test.

Action will be taken in accordance with the law against persons hiding information about his/her recent travel history and return from West Bengal, the CS said.

As part of the new strategy to contain the spread of infection in the state, all institutions will be engaged in the exercise in which panchayat bodies will play a significant role in identifying people returning from West Bengal and their contacts, the chief secretary added.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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