No weekend shutdowns in 20 Odisha districts, but malls to remain closed
Odisha has continued with restrictions in 10 districts that report a positivity rate of more than 5%
Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik government on Wednesday extended the Covid lockdown till July 16 but relaxed restrictions in 20 of the state’s 30 districts where the infection is on the wane.
Chief secretary Suresh Mohapatra said the statewide lockdown, which started on May 2, has yielded results and helped reduce the positivity rate from a high of more than 24% in April to 4.4% on Wednesday. Positivity rate is a crucial metric that shows how widespread the virus is in the community, and over time it provides an idea of whether a region’s testing strategy is adequate to contain the virus.
Mohapatra said 20 districts have been classified as category A where fewer restrictions will be in place as compared to the remaining 10 districts, classified as category B district because they are reporting a positivity rate of more than 5% and a higher number of active Covid cases. The category B districts on Wednesday account for 70% of the 3,371 fresh Covid cases.
“We thank the people of Odisha for helping the state government achieve the objective of bringing the epidemic scenario in the state under control,” he said, as Odisha reported 3,371 new Covid cases and 48 Covid deaths over the last 24 hours. The cumulative Covid cases in Odisha climbed to 9,09,800.
In the 20 category A districts, the government has allowed all activities including shops and commercial establishments to remain open between 6 am and 6 pm. Shops in malls, spas and beauty parlours will still remain closed and street food vendors can only serve take-away food only.
Inter-district and intra-district public transport by buses will remain functional while two wheeler with pillion rider and four wheelers, auto rickshaws, taxis, including cabs/auto rickshaws by aggregators like Ola, Uber would be allowed with driver plus up to two passengers in the rear seat.
The 20 districts in Category A are Angul, Baragarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Dhenkanal, Deogarh, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkanagiri, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur and Sundargarh.
The 10 districts in category B are Khurda, Puri, Nayagarh, Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur and Kendrapara.
In these districts, the government has decided to continue with the weekend shutdown which will start from Friday 2pm and continue till Monday 6 am.
Malls, cinema halls, jatras, or open air theatres, have been barred from reopening for now.
Besides, the restrictions on marriages, funerals and thread ceremony will continue as usual in these 10 districts, the chief secretary said.
Meanwhile, the Odisha government has directed all district administrations and civic bodies to ensure dignified disposal of bodies of Covid-19 patients by local authorities in consultation with the bereaved family members while observing all Covid-19 protocols.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) PK Mohapatra in a letter to all district collectors, municipal commissioners and health officials said the authorities should sanitise and pack the bodies as per the central government guidelines. Bodies of Covid negative patients can be handed over to their relatives only if the family members so desire and give an undertaking to abide by Covid protocols like not opening the body bag or touching or kissing the body.