Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday announced enforcement of a ‘near total lockdown’ in five districts and eight towns of the state amid rising numbers of COVID-19 infections in the country.
The five districts are Khurda, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapara and Angul. The eight towns are Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Jajpur Road, Jajpur town and Bhadrak. The lockdown will stay in force from 7am Sunday (March 22) till 9pm of March 29.
Explaining the motive, Patnaik informed that since more than 3000 people have returned to the above-mentioned districts from foreign countries, the risk of coronavirus outbreak in these districts is high and a lockdown in these places is expected to help. The returnees, meanwhile, have been asked to undergo home quarantine.
“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 was 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.”
“I humbly request you to stay at home and come out only for basic services. Hospitals, clinics, medical shops, grocery shops, restaurants (only takeaways and home deliveries) vegetables, meat and milk shops/ bread and bakery (but 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,” said a press notification from Chief Minister’s office.
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, the press release stated.
In the five districts and the eight towns, all distribution of benefits such as Pension and PDS have been postponed for the time being.
Collectors have been empowered to add or remove any sector/ service to this list based on local assessment. Private companies have been asked to work from home. In case they must have employees at offices, the company authorities need to get a certificate from the concerned collector to continue, the release stated.