With Covid-19 cases surging past 15,000 and fears of community transmission setting in, the Odisha government on Thursday announced a 14-day lockdown in four districts and a municipal corporation area that have reported over 66 per cent of the total cases.
The death toll in Odisha is close to 80.
Odisha chief secretary Asit Tripathy said that from 9 pm on July 17, the districts of Khurda, Ganjam, Jajpur, Cuttack and Rourkela Municipal Corporation would be under strict lockdown in which no vehicular movement would be allowed on the roads. Lockdown will also be implemented in the Rourkela Municipality area.
“Two-thirds of the active cases are in these four districts and Rourkela. Of the total cases of Sundargarh district, 90 per cent are from Rourkela. Therefore the decision has been taken to impose lockdown in Ganjam, Khurda, Cuttack, Jajpur and Rourkela Municipality from 9 pm tomorrow. Though many steps are being taken at the district levels, a decision at the State-level was the need of the hour. July is a very crucial month and to stem the progress of novel Coronavirus infection, the lockdown in these aforementioned places was necessary,” Tripathy said.
Out of Odisha’s tally of 15,392 cases, Ganjam alone has one third of the cases.
The capital city of Bhubaneswar in Khurda district, where cases have spiked over the last month with 919 cases being reported so far, will also come under the 14-day lockdown as there have been apprehensions of community transmission.
All commercial establishments including banks, shops and offices except government ones will remain closed during this period. During the lockdown period only shops selling vegetables, groceries and milk will remain open from 6 am to 1 pm in the four districts and RMC area, Tripathy said.
The rising cases of Covid-19 has led to shutdown of outpatient departments of four premier government hospitals of the state including AIIMS Bhubaneswar, MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur, VIMSAR in Burla and Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre in Cuttack. More than 300 cases were found in these hospitals.
Considering the issues faced by patients, the state health department has decided to launch telemedicine service at 41 healthcare institutions, said health minister Naba Kishore Das.
The telemedicine service will be made available at all 30 District Headquarters Hospitals in the state, seven government medical colleges, Rourkela Government Hospital, Bhubaneswar’s Capital Hospital, Cuttack’s Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre and Sisubhavan.
Several states including Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have recently clamped lockdowns in different places for different durations to curb rising cases of Covid-19.