Odisha extends COVID-19 lockdown for another 15 days

Bhubaneswar: In view of rapid spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, Odisha government has decided to extend the lockdown period for another 15 days to fight the highly infectious disease.

“In view of the situation arising out of COVID-19, the state government decided to extend the lockdown period till April 30,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a video message today.

“The State Cabinet which met today decided that saving the lives of our people is the top most priority at this juncture,” he said while announcing the extension of lockdown in the state.

However, activities related to agriculture, animal husbandry and MGNREGS will be facilitated during the lockdown period following social distancing norms.

“In a larger context food security of the people is a major priority of the state,” Patnaik said .

The state cabinet has also given a proposal to Centre for extension of 21-day nationwide lockdown till April 30 to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in the country, he said.

The government also urged the Union Government to continue suspension of flight and railway services till April 30.

The CM thanked people of Odisha for their support and cooperation to the government during the crucial period.

Expressing his concern over people from Odisha stranded in various parts of the country, he said, “our intervention for their well-being will be through the concerned state governments. Odisha will take care of all the people, who are stranded in Odisha.”

He made it clear that the essential services will remain unhindered during the lockdown period.

“As has been stated earlier, there will not be any problem in transport of goods. We are leaving no stone unturned in scaling up COVID testing and treatment Facilities. We propose to do one Lakh rapid testing in the State at the earliest possible time,” he said.

He expressed his gratitude to the doctors from across the country who volunteered to offer their services in telemedicine.

For safety of students, he announced to close all the educational institutions till June 17.

“Coronavirus is the biggest threat that the human race has faced in more than a century. Life will not be the same ever. All of us must understand this and face it boldly together. With our sacrifice and with the blessings of the Lord Jagannath this too shall pass,” Patnaik said in his message.

So far, Odisha has reported 42 COVID-19 positive cases with one death.

Worth mentioning, Odisha was the first state in the country to have clamped lockdown since March 22. On March 21, the state government had announced a total lockdown in five districts and major towns in the state till March 30. Later, the Centre enforced the complete lockdown in the country for the period of 21 days.

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