With 12 of 30 districts recording a TPR more than the state average over last week, the Odisha government on Sunday extended the statewide lockdown till June 17 to bring the Covid-19 surge in rural areas under control.
Making the announcement, chief secretary Suresh Mohapatra said during the lockdown, all the usual restrictions will continue to be strictly imposed. Weekend shutdown beginning from Friday evening till Monday morning will also be enforced. Amid the second wave of Covid-19, the Odisha government imposed a statewide lockdown from May 5 to May 19 and then extended it till June 1
“Odisha had to face a twin crisis of Cyclone Yaas and Covid-19 during last week. Cyclone Yaas battered parts of North Odisha and north coastal Odisha. Though the positivity rate has dropped in the state, we are still at risk of the spread of Covid-19 infection. Therefore the state government has decided to extend lockdown for 16 more days,” said Mahapatra, urging people not to venture into local markets for shopping ahead of the Raja and Savitri festival in June.
Additional chief secretary of health, PK Mohapatra said though Odisha recorded its Covid-19 peak of second wave on May 22 with 12,858 positive cases, there are still fears of transmission of the virus from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal where Covid-19 cases are still high.
Dhenkanal with a weekly average of 37.2 per cent TPR still continued to be a cause for worry for the state government as much as Bhadrak with 36.55 per cent and Cuttack at 33 per cent. Other districts who reported higher TPR than state weekly average of 15.86 are Balasore (30.33), Khurdah (29.12), Jajpur (23.80), Puri (22.32), Boudh (21.53), Angul (19.91), Mayurbhanj (18.81), Jagatsinghpur (18.62) and Kendrapara (17.76). The health secretary said 9 districts of Khurdah, Cuttack, Angul, Sundargarh, Puri, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Balasore and Bargarh accounted for 60% of the total number of Covid-19 cases.
In Dhenkanal, half a dozen villages have been declared containment zones after a huge number of positive cases were detected. Officials said most of the infected people attended community feasts over the last fortnight.
The state government, however, relaxed the weekday lockdown hours in Nuapada, Gajapati and Sundargarh districts where the Covid-19 cases have drastically reduced and TPR too came down considerably over the last week. In these districts people can buy essential commodities between 6 am to 1 pm instead of 6 am to 10 am window available to people of other districts. The government said there has been a decline in Covid-19 positive cases in western Odisha districts bordering Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
The health secretary said the Covid-19 situation in Odisha was improving as occupancy of general beds has dropped from 52% to 46% and that of the critical care beds from 82% to 72%.
“Today, 86% of active cases in Odisha are in Home Isolation. We are adding another 368 ICU beds, and 70 HDU beds very soon. Odisha is self-sufficient in terms of drugs for Covid-19 treatment and medical oxygen supply. Our requirement is 67 metric tonnes of oxygen per day for hospitals are being met. Besides, medical oxygen from Odisha is being supplied to 18 states and so far 25,000 tonnes of LMO have been transported out of Odisha,” he said.
So far 30% people in 45+ age groups in Odisha have been vaccinated. But vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group has not gathered much pace due to lack of enough vaccines. So far vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group is being carried out in 5 municipal corporations and 6 district headquarters.