In a determined bid to stem the continuing surge of corona cases across Odisha over the past few weeks, the Naveen Patnaik government has announced a 14-day lockdown that will come into effect from coming Wednesday.
During the May 5-19 period, people will be allowed to purchase essential supplies within a radius of 500 metres from their respective residences, and only between 6am and 12pm on weekdays, according to the order issued by the state government. On weekends, there will be complete shutdown and they can only get out to avail of necessary medical or other emergency services.
However, the Covid-19 immunisation and testing drive will continue as usual during this period and those who have registered can visit the nearest centre.
In view of the Pipili bypoll scheduled on May 16, those directly involved in election-related work have been exempted from the lockdown and shutdown when on duty.
There will be no restrictions on cargo carriers as the lockdown is mainly aimed at controlling the movement of common people, the official order stated.
State Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra stated that the government was compelled to enforce the lockdown because the restrictive measures taken over the past weeks had failed to contain the “extremely frightening’ rise in Covid cases that are now threatening to overwhelm an already strained healthcare system.
He also said that the chain of transmission of the deadly virus can only be broken if people cooperate with the government and follow all the pandemic safety guidelines.
During the lockdown, marriages and funerals will be allowed with restrictions and prior approval of local authorities. However, buses services under the public transport system will remain suspended and intra-state movement of people will be forbidden unless it is for medical emergencies or for other permitted activities.
While banks and other financial institutions coming under the essential services category have been permitted to stay open with reduced manpower, only authorised educational institutes will be allowed to remain open.
The state health department said today that Odisha has registered 8,015 new COVID-19 cases, with 14 fatalities and 5,634 recoveries over the past 24 hours.