Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy on Friday announced that a complete shutdown will be imposed in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Bhadrak town for 48 hours from 8 PM today till 8 PM on Sunday as a precautionary measure to prevent any community transmission of COVID-19.

The Chief Secretary has warned that strict action will be taken against anyone found violating curfew rules during the period.

"The earlier lockdown restrictions in wake of COVID-19 outbreak by Ministry of Home Affairs are being revoked & new shutdown regulations implemented by Disaster Management Act-2005 and IPC will come into force during the period, so anyone found violating curfew rules will be picked up & put in quarantine facility of the government for a period of 14 days. Apart from that, cases will be registered," said Tripathy.

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Tripathy added that limited medical stores as decided by the administration will get permission to remain open while patients wanting to visit hospitals will be only allowed in ambulances. The number of ambulances will be increased and private hospitals have also been asked to keep their ambulances ready," he added.

An hour later, Cuttack too was included in the list of cities to be under complete shutdown for 48 hours from 8 PM tonight following the detection of a positive COVID-19 case in the city.

Speaking about the vehicle passes issued earlier, Tripathy said, "All lockdown passes remain suspended and new shut down passes can be taken by dialling 100."

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There will be no restriction on goods vehicle transportation on roads and national highways unless they stop anywhere.

Similarly, Director General of Police Abhay informed that shops selling all the grocery and essential food items like vegetable, fruit and milk will not be allowed to remain open during the 48-hour shutdown.

Chief Spokesperson of COVID-19, Subroto Bagchi, while briefing the media said that the shutdown order will be executed in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area and the Gram Panchayats/villages namely- Basuaghai, Shisupal, Lingipur, Ranasinghpur, Tamando, Malipada, Andharua, Kalarahanga, Raghunathpur, Barirnunda, Daruthenga/Chandaka, Dhauli, Janla, Sijua, Balakati (Pratap Sasan), Balianta, Jagannathpur and Pradhan Sahi of Jatni Block.

Bagchi further informed that National Highway passing through Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Bhadrak will remain open. Movement of Goods vehicles, loaded or unloaded will be free from the restriction.

He further said that food and accommodation have been ensured through 407 camps for around 27,000 'Guest Workers' from outside the State stranded in Odisha. These workers are primarily from West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Any complaint received through Shramik Sahayata Call Centre-18003456703 is being addressed promptly.

As many as 3,02,302 destitute and helpless persons in 5217 Gram Panchayats and 22,293 persons in 105 ULBs have been provided with food today. The State government has engaged 6404 SHGs for preparing food.

As approved by the Government of India, 500 MBBS students have been given COVID-19 online training, Bagchi said adding that a total of 263 no of cases have been registered by the Police in the state for different violations of regulations and guidelines related to COVID-19 in the last 14 hours. This includes 254 no. of cases for violation of lockdown, 3 cases for violation of 'Home Quarantine' and 6 for other issues.

As many as 40 medicine stores in Bhubaneswar to remain open during the complete shutdown period. BMC has however asked these medicine shops to strictly follow social distancing guidelines while selling drugs to customers.