Covid protocol not mandatory in Odisha: Health dept

Bhubaneswar: The state government has not made Covid protocol, including wearing of facemask, mandatory for people in Odisha for now.

This was revealed by Health department Commissioner-cum-Secretary Shalini Pandit after a high-level review meeting of the Covid-19 situation in Odisha today.

“The state government has lifted the Covid-19 protocol after improvement in the pandemic situation in Odisha. Now, there is no provision of penalty for violation of Covid norms in Odisha. However, we are advising people to wear facemasks while visiting crowded places,” Pandit said.

According to Pandit, epidemiologists, community health specialists, experts from RMRC, ILS, AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, SCBMCH in Cuttack and VIMSAR in Burla, and senior officials of the Health department were present at the meeting, chaired by Health Minister Naba Kisore Das.

“India as well as Odisha witnessed sharp fall in Covid-19 cases in last three months. The country is now reporting 100-200 Covid cases on daily basis while the state is recording 5-7 cases. Odisha is now testing 131 samples for a million people while the all-India average is 93,” said the Health department Secretary.

At least 50 per cent samples in Odisha are being sent for RTPCR tests. All districts in Odisha have the required infrastructure for RTPCR tests, Pandit added.

“Now, we are testing around 6,000-7,000 samples on daily basis. Our test positive rate (TPR) is 0.04 per cent while the national average is 0.3 per cent. We have adequate testing kits, medicines and infrastructure in our hospitals to meet any eventuality,” Pandit said.

The Health Secretary claimed that several experts have opined that the Covid-19 situation in India is quite different from that of China. More than 90 per cent of the eligible people in India have received the two doses of Covid-19 vaccines, she said.

“Omicron subvariant BF.7, which is now responsible for rise in cases in China, was very much in India in last three months. But, there was no significant rise in the daily infection in our country. There is no evidence to suggest that the BF.7 sub variant is causing severe disease in people. So, there is nothing to worry about the new Omicron sub-variant,” said the Health Secretary.

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