Pradeep Pattanayak

Amid the growing concern over the unprecedented flooding of Covid-19 along with the new mutant Omicron cases, health experts in Odisha are of the opinion that the third wave will hit the peak by January 25 in the State. 

Odisha added 14 new cases of Omicron on Saturday, taking the new variant’s caseload to 75. At the same time, the country’s tally crossed 3,000 mark on the same day, with Maharashtra positioned at top of the list crossing 9,000 mark and Delhi at the second spot crossing the 5,000 mark. 

There is no let up in Covid-19 cases either. The country registered 1,41,986 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, a sharp increase of 24,000 from Friday. The positivity rate is also on the rise. It stood at 9.28 percent on Saturday. The number of active cases is somewhere near 5,00,000. 

A similar picture is also emerging in Odisha. The State on Saturday registered 3,679 new positive cases. Of them, 1,223 are from Khurda alone, which is in Red Zone. Sundargarh, which is in Yellow Zone, reported 582 fresh cases and Sambalpur and Cuttack added 372 and 310 cases, respectively. 

Meanwhile, State Director of Health Services, Dr Bijay Mohapatra, on Saturday said the present situation will continue for a few days more. 

“If we take the present trend into the consideration, the number of cases is increasing in the country as well as in our State. It is too early to say when the graph will show a downward trend. If the data available are taken into consideration, we should expect that the situation will continue for a few more days,” Dr Mohapatra said. 

According to health expert Dr Neeraj Mishra, the peak of the third wave will reach by January 25. “In Delhi and Mumbai, it is said that the peak will reach by January 15/16. In Odisha, it is expected around January 25. However, I think the present situation doesn’t require the imposition of lockdowns and shutdowns,” Mishra observed.  

The Capital city Bhubaneswar has turned into a hotspot. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday declared 11 more places as containment zones-four in North Zone and seven in South-East Zone. With this, the number of containment zones has increased to 25. A hostel at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB) was declared containment zone after 30 students tested positive for Covid-19. And the authorities have decided to conduct RT-PCR test of the students in other hostels. 

Amidst the fight against the invisible enemy, the emerging silver lining is the success of vaccination of adolescents in 15 to 18 years age group. This has been stated by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in a tweet. 

The State Health department claimed that so far the first dose vaccination has reached the three crore mark. 
Surveillance has also been stepped up at the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA). “Last week, the number of passengers the airport handled was around 12,000. It has come down to 7,000 to 8,000. It suggests that people are reluctant to fly during this pandemic time,” said director, BPIA, Prabhat Ranjan Beuria. 

The BPIA authorities have provided RT-PCR test facilities for the fliers. And if they have reports of 72 hours prior to boarding, they don’t need to go for the test, informed Beuria.