Fighting COVID-19: Odisha sets new Benchmark as Naveen leads the Campaign

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By Our Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik proved his mettle again with people of Odisha spontaneously supporting his appeal to contain the spread of Coronavirus in the State.

Sources said more than 3000 people have returned to Odisha from foreign countries and registered themselves in the COVID-19 portal. The State Government has imposed a lockdown in the territorial jurisdiction of revenue districts of Khurda, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada, Angul and the municipal jurisdiction of Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Jajpur, Jajpur Road and Bhadrak from 7 am on Sunday, 22nd March 2020 to 9 pm on 29th March 2020.

Patnaik has appealed to the people of Odisha to stay at home and come out only for basic services in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In a press note, the Odisha CM stated, “In the last 60 days the world has changed. We thought the change is happening in faraway places like China, South Korea but it has reached India now. In the last 15 days, the most powerful countries of the World – the U.S., the U.K., many in Europe have been severely affected. 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. Only through this strategy, China and some countries have reversed the trend. In fact, Wuhan which is the nerve centre has no more infections today. Their hospitals are free. They made people stay at home and come out only for essential services. Time has come for us to take the extraordinary step and sacrifice, to protect our State and our people,” Patnaik added.

Further informing about the lockdown in some parts of the state, the Chief Minister said, “We have more than 3000 people who have returned from foreign countries. They are advised for home quarantine. A majority of them belong to the following Districts of Khurdha, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada, Angul, the towns of Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Jajpur road and Jajpur town, Bhadrak.

“Hence in the first phase, we are going for a near-complete lockdown in all these areas from 7 A.M. tomorrow till 9 pm of 29th March,” he said.

Requesting all to stay at home and come out only for basic services, the Odisha CM informed that hospitals, clinics, medical shops, grocery shops, restaurants (only takeaways and home deliveries) vegetables, meat and milk shops/bread and bakery (but the selling of tea and other beverages in the same premises have to be closed), Railways, Bus stands Airports will be open as also Public Transport.

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, he added.

Besides, in the five districts and the eight towns where lockdown has been imposed distribution of benefits such as Pension and PDS have been postponed for the time being. However, the District Collectors have been empowered to add or delete any sector/service to this list based on local assessment.

“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 the private sector engaged in COVID-19, will be declared as Emergency Workers,” Patnaik stated.

“Let us take care of people who have worked for us for long years and pay them their wages for this time even though we have to discontinue their services temporarily. These are extraordinary times, we all have to pitch in The police cannot enforce this everwhere. We have to see it as our responsibility to protect our lives. It is the duty of the community, specifically Sarpanchs and elected representatives and other community leaders to keep a close watch and monitor this lockdown.

The Odisha CM said, “4.5 crore people of Odisha are my family and I am concerned about the well being of each one of you.

My only appeal is to Stay at Home. If you go out – you risk bringing the virus to your family. Go out only for basic requirements – groceries, food and water, medicines, hospitals.”

“The administration will take tough action on anyone violating this and risking their lives, their family members and people of Odisha,” the Odisha CM concluded.

Appreciate the significant step of completely locking down 5 districts, including 8 major towns in Odisha till March 29 to contain the outbreak of #Covid19 by Naveen Patnaik.No emergency and essential services will be restricted during the period.Urge my Odia brothers and sisters to support the state and central governments by practicing restraint by avoiding social gatherings and non-essential travel so we win this battle against #Covid-19 together,” Union PNG-Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

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