Coronavirus update: Panic buying continues in Odisha’s Bhadrak amid national lockdown
Before the Prime Minister’s announcement, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered the closure of 16 more districts in the state and issued a video appeal. He had asked people to take a pledge in the name of their children and parents that they would not go out of their homes.Updated: Mar 25, 2020 15:03 IST
Hundreds of people rushed to shops to stock up on food and vegetables in Odisha’s Bhadrak district on Wednesday amid a national lockdown and despite repeated appeals by chief minister Naveen Patnaik to residents to stay at home in a fight against Covid-19 disease.
The 21-day countrywide complete lockdown was clamped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening to enforce social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The panic buying continued even as Ranendra Pratap Swain, the state food supply and consumer welfare minister, said Odisha had enough stocks.
“Let me assure that we have adequate stock of essential commodities to meet the demand of at least 10 days. Also, the movement of essential goods has not been restricted to ensure smooth supply,” Swain said.
“We have been holding discussions with traders and oil company representatives to maintain stock of essential goods,” he said.
Before the Prime Minister’s announcement, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered the closure of 16 more districts in the state and issued a video appeal. He had asked people to take a pledge in the name of their children and parents that they would not go out of their homes.
“In the last 20 years of service to Odisha, I have requested you all many times to follow certain regulations and you have never disappointed me. However, the request that I am placing before you today, is the most important one of my life. Our safety is in our own hands,” he said.
“Whether coronavirus enters our home or not, depends on our behaviour. If you are alert and watchful, this virus cannot enter your home. Let us read this pledge on a daily basis: I promise in the name of my children and parents that I will not go out during these times. If I go out, Coronavirus can come inside my house with me. And it can harm my family. Please keep my request - Stay at Home, Save Your Family,” said Patnaik.
He also urged people to put a pledge on display on the entrance of their houses that they will not allow the virus to enter their homes.
The chief minister said if at all people needed to go out for an emergency task, then after returning, they should wash their hands cleanly with soap for 20 seconds and then enter into the house.
He also urged people to make videos of their pledges and send it to him over social media.
Numbers will rise
A senior official put the numbers in perspective as he said Odisha could see an explosion of coronavirus cases in the state by the end of May.
Subroto Bagchi, the spokesperson for coronavirus disease in Odisha, said if people do not adhere to the strict procedures of lockdown then there would be a minimum of 2345 and a maximum of 36,000 coronavirus-infected people.
“Though we have 519 (till Tuesday) positive cases in India and two cases in Odisha, these are initial days of the virus entering India. The explosive situation is yet to begin. The first one to be affected by this disease would be the old people in our homes. So, we have to change our lifestyle and follow lockdown measures scrupulously,” he said.
Of the 3861 people who have registered with the state government after returning from abroad, 100 are showing symptoms of the disease and are being watched. Of the 110 persons tested so far, only two have tested positive.
“Their health conditions are stable. Of the 57 who came in contact with the two positive patients, 45 have been kept in isolation wards of various hospitals,” Bagchi said.
The state government has put stickers on each of the 3861 patients for easy identification as some 100-odd people were reportedly found to be violating the home quarantine conditions.
The stickers would have details like their names and address, the period of quarantine and the number of people quarantined. Their neighbours would have to maintain social distance from them without making them feel uncomfortable.
It has so far lodged cases against eight such people.
Odisha health department officials said the state government is scouting for sites to start two special corona hospitals in Bhubaneswar with more than 2000 beds. The existing seven government medical colleges and hospitals and 30 district headquarter hospitals have more than 350 beds for Covid-19 patients with ventilators.
Swami Vivekanand National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research, an autonomous institute in Cuttack district for treatment of people with locomotor diseases, would be used as a coronavirus special hospital.
Ranendra Pratap Swain, state minister for food supply, has urged in a letter to the state government to use an abandoned 60-bedded private hospital in Bhubaneswar for coronavirus patients.