Outcome of the lockdown has been encouraging, says Chief Secretary
Odisha on Sunday extended the lockdown by 16 days in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Lockdown restrictions will remain in force till 5 a.m. on June 17. However, weekend shut downs would continue throughout the third lockdown period.
“We had first imposed lockdown on May 5. During 25 days, the outcome of the lockdown has been encouraging. The TPR (test positivity rate), which was 25% at the beginning, has now dropped to 15%. In many western Odisha districts, the infection level has come down sharply,” said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, announcing the extension of the lockdown here.
“We got good result due to timely imposition of lockdown. We did not face the kind of shortages of beds, medicines and oxygen faced by other States. We have increased the number of tests to 70,000. Despite that, there has not been a substantial increase in cases. The TPR is, however, found to be above 25% in the coastal districts,” said Mr. Mohapatra.
“More than 7 lakh people were evacuated when cyclone Yaas hit the State. Though COVID-19 guideline was followed during evacuation, we cannot rule out infections among these people. Hundreds of employees are currently involved in post cyclone restoration works. The COVID-19 situation continues to be critical in the State,” he said.
“Since the TPR has not dropped below 10%, the government has decided to extend lockdown by 16 days till 5 a.m. on June 17. Along with the lockdown, weekend shut down would continue. The government will continue with the exempted activities, relaxations and restrictions followed in the previous lockdowns,” the Chief Secretary said.
The government has also decided to increase the time given to people to buy essential items in the morning in three districts — Gajapati, Nuapada and Sundargarh — due to the drop in the TPR. In the remaining 27 districts, people are allowed shop for vegetables from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., whereas people in these three districts enjoy relaxation from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. If the situation improves, the government is expected to extend relaxation in phases.
The new lockdown has taken the sheen off the two major festivals, Sabitri and Raja, which fall on June 10 and 16, respectively.
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