Revisiting March 15, 2020 when Odisha reported 1st COVID case

Bhubaneswar: On this day a year ago, the first COVID-19 case was detected in Odisha that left the people of the state panic-stricken.

A resident of Badagada area in Bhubaneswar developed COVID-19 symptoms after returning from Italy and was later admitted to the Capital Hospital in the city. He tested positive for the virus on March 15, 2020.

What followed was a series of inconveniences for the public as the government announced lockdown, imposed various restrictions on movement of persons, and started contact tracing. Woes worsened as Subroto Bagchi, chief spokesperson of the State Government on COVID-19, informed that the first COVID-19 patient had come in contact with at least 129 persons, including  76 train passengers.

As a part of readiness for tackling the COVID-19 situation, the Odisha Government had on March 14, 2020 declared the pandemic as ‘state disaster’. On March 21, 2020, the state government announced lockdown in five coastal districts to contain the spread of the virus. Later, it announced a complete lockdown in all the 30 districts of the state.

Roads and public places across Odisha wore a deserted look for the next couple of months while almost all sectors of the economy were adversely affected. Temporary Medical Camps (TMCs) were created in each panchayat of the state where people returning from other states and countries underwent mandatory quarantine.

Dedicated COVID-19 hospitals were also formed in each district of the state for the treatment of the COVID patients.

With the increase in the number of testings, daily COVID-19 cases in the state surpassed 4,000-mark during the later part of 2020. The figure dropped below 100-mark in 2021 while COVID-19 vaccination commenced in the state on January 16.

With cases of COVID-19 resurging in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the people of the state to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols for preventing another lockdown-like situation.

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