Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Chief Secretary of Odisha, Asit Tripathy today thanked all the city dwellers of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Bhadrak for making the 48-hour shut down which started at 8 pm on April 3, a success. He also thanked all the personnel of law enforcement, district administration and health care workers for dealing with the enforcement in the best possible way.

In a press briefing here on Sunday, Tripathy said, "Our purpose to enforce this 48-hour shut down in these three cities was to investigate the cause of the reported Covid-19 infection there. The positive outcome of the shutdown is that there is no evidence of community transmission which we were apprehending earlier."

He further said that the shut down provided the authorities enough time to scour the area and perform a door to door contact tracing of the infected persons. In fact, it yielded good and encouraging results for them. As per Tripathy, contact tracing of Patient-5 at Surya Nagar in Bhubaneswar and the three siblings at Bomikhal revealed that they had acquired the disease from outside Odisha. Patient-5 from Surya Nagar got himself infected from a relative who had returned from Kolkata while the three brothers in Bomikhal area had links with Bhopal. So the earlier apprehension of community transmission of Coronavirus in Odisha stands nullified."

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Tripathy said, “The district administrations and local civic bodies have been given full power to establish containment zones and shut them down if cases of infection are detected without a travel history. The hotspots will be strategically sealed as containment zones. The purpose being to contain the area from community transmission and go door to door contact tracing as per the World Health Organisation(WHO) guidelines.”

However, Tripathy emphasised on social distancing during the remaining days of lockdown period which will be in force till April 14. It was earlier decided to open the grocery and vegetable shops in this period, so he urged people to not crowd the market after 8 PM tonight after the shut down is lifted. He reiterated that social distancing is the only way the virus can be defeated.

The distorting fact is almost 80 per cent of the infected cases in Odisha are asymptomatic. "Such cases pose a risk to the vulnerable at home. The containment strategy at hotspots, where patients don't have travel history, would ideally be followed for next 7-8 days. So if we don’t maintain social distancing for some more time, we might invite the virus into our home, because it is difficult to know who might be carrying the Coronavirus virus."

“I have directed all the district Collectors and police department to enforce and ensure social distancing in all the public places. If people don’t listen, then we will have to enforce stricter measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus,” added Trapathy.

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After the end of shutdown period tonight, people should go out in less numbers and not in a staggering way to prevent spread of the infection, he urged.

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