Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as quiet, not restiveness, rules the air on Sunday in Odisha, when the double play of Janta curfew and lockdown have been put in to lock in the local transmission of novel coronavirus, the Covid-19 numbers in Odisha are seemingly not that quiet today.

Though the State has till date reported only 2 positive cases from a total of 77 samples tested, as many as 28 Covid-19 suspects are still under hospital isolation, which means they are sick with some symptoms. In the last 24-hours, five more have been brought under hospital isolation that took the total count to 28.

Highly placed sources in the State Public Health department inform that it is this number that has forced the hands of the Naveen-led government to go for a complete lockdown in the 5-districts. Significantly, the hospitalised suspects have contacts in the five lockdown districts. And they have been asked to stay in home-quarantine.

Is the danger still lurking?

As per ICMR DG Balaram Bhargav, one who is under hospital isolation has to undergo two tests within a time span of 14 days, if both reports test negative, then after 14-days h/she will be discharged from the hospital. The reason is history of the disease shows that after 14-days the strains of novel coronavirus cannot be sighted.

He, however, added that if the discharged patient shows recurrence of some Covid-19 symptoms, they should immediately contact health centres. Because, WHO reports show in few cases Covid-19 symptoms have manifested in infected persons after 27 days.

Given the uncertainties associated with this novel coronavirus disease,  the danger still holds high for Odisha, especially when the number of hospital isolation persons posted a rise in the last 24-hours.

Another risk factor before the State is, as per IDSP (Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme) report, returnees from gulf countries, especially Dubai (UAE) and Qatar, have emerged as the big source of Covid-19 transmission in country, especially in states like Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka.

The risk for the State is, over 680 returnees from UAE have registered themselves in the newly launched portal since March 17. And nearly three-fourth of the registered returnees are native to the lockdown districts.

It seems a host of such risk factors are behind the Naveen Patnaik-led  govt's decision to impose a near total lockdown for as many as 8-days.

The Covid-19 scenario in the country is still fluid. The number count keeps increasing every day. The speed of transmission appears quite high.

After recording the highest ever single day cases of 74, in the last 17-hours, the country saw detection of 22 more positives cases that takes the tally to 344.

On Sunday, when the country has observed Janta curfew, the nation has recorded two more deaths taking the total toll to 6.

The States that have reported new cases today are: Gujarat, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. And deaths have been reported from states like : Maharashtra and Bihar.

The big worry on Sunday:  As per reports from various states, in as many as 29 Covid-19 positive cases, the source of infection is yet to be traced.

And, even, US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put India in the level of ongoing community transmission.