Bhubaneswar: In the aftermath of first human death in India due to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), the Odisha Government today announced closure of all educational institutions (except for holding examinations), swimming pools, gyms and cinemas across the state till March 31.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made a statement in this regard in the State Assembly today and also declared COVID-19 as a ‘disaster’ for the state. “The State Cabinet met this morning and declared COVID-19 as a ‘disaster’ for the State under the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 to adequately empower our public officials to combat the spread of COVID-19,” the CM said.
Non-essential official gatherings such as seminars, workshops, conferences are to be cancelled while social gatherings and assemblies like religious functions, marriage receptions, parties etc are to be regulated by local authorities, he said.
“An Empowered Group of Ministers has been constituted and a Committee of Secretaries under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary to be constituted to evaluate the emerging situation and take all necessary steps for preventing, containing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the State,” said Patnaik.
Earlier in the day, the State Cabinet approved Rs 200 crore for creating awareness across the state regarding the disease. “The COVID-19 Odisha Regulations, 2020 have been approved. An amount of Rupees two hundred crore has been earmarked to augment the Public Health Response Fund to combat the threat of the pandemic and for making required expenditure,” he said.
Appealing to every section of the society to behave in responsible manner, the CM said rumour mongering, misinformation and irresponsible conduct will be dealt with very sternly. “I am sure with the support of each one of you, Odisha will be able to face this situation in the best possible manner,” he added.