Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Acknowledging that return of migrants might aggravate the COVID19 situation in Odisha, Health Minister Naba Das on Thursday reiterated testing of returnees before they are allowed to leave a particular state.

Briefing media after his video-conferencing with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Das informed that "Odisha has requested for testing of migrants in the State from where they are returning.” The State Minister further informed that out of the 1,000 samples of Surat returnees, four per cent have tested COVID19 positive and hence there is a need to conduct testing of the migrants who have already returned to Odisha.

Odisha has also requested for additional testing kits and relaxation in ICMR guidelines. As per the SOP issued by Centre, pre-screening of migrants is being conducted in States from where they are boarding special trains to Odisha. Instead of pre-screening, pre-tests should be conducted as it will help Odisha government in effective tackling of COVID-19 situation, the minister said.

“The situation is alarming as 4% out of 1,000 samples of Surat returnees tested positive for COVID19. We have requested for a Central team for monitoring of situation in districts which have been declared as ‘Red Zones’ in the State,” Das added.

State government officials informed that there is a need for increasing testing as lakhs of people, who are stranded in other parts of the country due to the lockdown, are expected to return to Odisha.

Official sources said, around 39,765 persons have returned to Odisha from other States by bus, train & other vehicles so far. Around 4,225 people returned from other States today.