COVID-19: CM Naveen announces one-week lockdown in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In view of rapid spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country and outbreak in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced complete lockdown in five districts for one week from tomorrow.

In the first phase, the near total lockdown will be in force in the districts of Khordha, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapara and Angul as well as in the towns of Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda , Balasore, Jajpur road and Jajpur town, Bhadrak from 7.00 am on March 22 till 9.00 pm on March 29.

“The case numbers are rising in India. We have a very small window to take pre- emptive action. There is no cure for this virus. The only cure is prevention. It is only if you go out of your home that you may bring the virus to your home and your neighbourhood,” said Patnaik today.

He urged people of Odisha to stay at home and come out only for basic services.

However, the institutions offering essential and emergency services like hospitals, clinics, medical shops, grocery shops, restaurants (only takeaways and home deliveries) vegetables, meat and milk shops/bread and bakery (but selling of tea and other beverages in the same premises have to be closed), Railways, Bus stands, Airports and public transport will remain opened.

“If you go out – you risk bringing the virus to your family. Go out only for basic requirements – groceries, food and water, medicines, hospitals,” Patnaik said.

Besides, administration, police, health, fire, ODRAF, electricity, water, municipal services, banks, ATMs ,petrol pumps shall remain open along with private establishments that support the above services or are linked to the fight against coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the benefits such as pension and PDS have been postponed for a temporary period in these above five districts and eight towns.

Announcing the near complete lockdown in the state, the CM said that the most powerful countries like the US, UK and many in Europe have been severely affected by the deadly virus in the past 15 days. In India, the number is rising rapidly.

As there is no cure for the deadly virus, the only cure is prevention, he said adding that more than 3000 people have returned to Odisha from coronavirus-hit foreign countries. He advised them to remain in home quarantine.

Expressing concern for employees working at different private sectors, he said that private companies will be advised to encourage work from home.

“In case they cannot do so and need to continue they need to get a certificate from the concerned Collector to continue. All service providers ,including private sector engaged in COVID-19 will be declared as Emergency Workers.

The administration will take tough action against people for violating the order and risking their life, their family members as well as other people around them.

With such move, Odisha became the first state in the country to lockdown 40% of its area to battle against coronavirus.

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