Odisha declares coronavirus as a “State Disaster”, Rs 200 crore for PHRF

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By Our Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR:  The Naveen Patnaik led Odisha Government was on Friday declared the lethal disease caused by the novel coronavirus as a “state disaster.”

The same was announced by Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik. The decision came after the high-level cabinet meeting that was held today.

The state government has also directed the closure of all schools till March 31. Similarly, movie theatres, swimming pools across the State are also advised to remain shut to avoid the spread of infection. An amount of Rs 200 crore has been earmarked to combat the threat of the pandemic.

All educational institutions shall remain closed till 31 March 2020 except for holding examinations. Non-essential official gatherings such as seminars, workshops, conferences are to be cancelled.

 Social gatherings and assembles like religious functions, marriage receptions, parties, etc. are to be regulated by local authorities.Cinema halls, swimming pools and gyms are to be closed till 31 March 2020.

Besides, the Odisha Chief Minister also stated that “Sneezing and coughing etiquettes to be followed as is being widely published.” “This is an opportunity for Odias to stop spitting paan,” Patnaik added.

Though no one has been yet detected with the disease in Odisha, the State Government is taking all necessary steps to prevent the outbreak here.

 COVID-19 has been declared as a “disaster” for the State under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005 to adequately empower the public officials to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The Health and Family Welfare Department and its Directorates, as well as the Collectors and the Municipal Commissioners have been authorised for making emergency procurement of necessary drugs and consumables, equipment and other required services necessary to prevent, contain and mitigate COVID-19.

 The competent officers have been authorised to impose required restrictions on assemblies, congregations, institutions, and establishments aiming at “social distancing” to contain the spread of the disease by invoking the powers under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

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 stae.

The COVID-19 Odisha Regulations, 2020 have also been approved.An amount of Rs 200 crore has been earmarked to augment the Public Health Response Fund to combat the threat of the pandemic and for making required expenditure.

Besides the Odisha CM also stated that he has taken the decision based on the experience of China, Singapore, and Italy where the COVID-19 has affected thousands of lives.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on Wednesday as the new coronavirus, which was unknown to world health officials just three months ago, has rapidly spread to more than 121,000 people from Asia to the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

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