With just two days before the expiry of the partial lockdown, the third phase of the pandemic curbs in Odisha this year, all eyes are now on the next move of the State government.
Even though in a majority of districts in the State, the graph of the virus cases have waned, the situation is still far from satisfactory in some districts especially in the coastal belt.
Sources said the State Health department is consulting various stakeholders before taking any decision on the next stage of pandemic restrictions while looking at Covid protocols, test positivity rate and vaccination status.
Odisha government clamped down the lockdown restrictions for the first time this year after a massive resurgence in Corona cases. After enforcing the curbs from May 5 to 19 in the first phase and from May 19 to June 1, the government extended the lockdown till June 17. After gradual dip and considerable improvement in various districts, the State authorities gave way to a series of relaxations in districts with low virus cases under a partial lockdown phase. But now intense public speculations continue to brew on whether similar partial lockdown restrictions will continue in Odisha with more relaxations or the period will see full phase unlocking activities based on the categorisation of districts.
High placed sources indicate that the State government may go for more relaxations in the districts exhibiting less than 5% of TPR for an extended period of time. However, there is little or no likelihood on opening of educational institutions, religious places which are places of mass public gathering because of virus outbreak scare.
It is also believed that decision on reopening of businesses like salons, gyms, swimming pools and restarting road public transport will be a massive challenge for the state administration.
In the meantime, the Chief of Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DMET), CBK Mohanty has said various aspects of the pandemic like positive count, active cases, vaccination numbers, hospitalisation cases are being thoroughly analysed on a district to district basis to prepare a comprehensive plan for the next stage of the unlocking activities.
Notably, Odisha has recorded 3319 virus cases in the last 24 hours. The trend of the daily cases furnished by the Health Department shows that the State continues to exhibit over 3000 plus new positives on a daily basis even a month and a week after registering its peak with over 12k cases on May 22.
While the average TPR of the State hovers around 5%, there are some districts like Puri, Khordha, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj where the positivity rate continues its roller coaster ride.
The Health Department has said that special strategies have been formulated after consultations with the authorities of these districts for further containing the virus cases.