Sharmili Mallick

Following the detection of two more cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Odisha on Thursday, surveillance at the State’s border entry points have been intensified at.

Director of State Health Services, Bijay Mohapatra said while people’s movement in the bordering areas with the neighbouring states are being closely monitored, authorities across the State have been asked to increase testing and step up the vaccination drive as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of Omicron in the State.

Briefing the media on the efforts undertaken by the State Government to prevent the outbreak of Omicron infection, Mohapatra said, “The concerned authorities have been directed to increase the testing to 70,000 samples per day and intensify vaccination. The district administration has also been asked to tighten surveillance in border areas for arrivals.”

District Collectors have been asked to inform the surveillance team about the arrival of people coming from foreign countries in their respective districts, added Mohapatra.

Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner, Sanjay Kumar Singh said Christmas and New Year will be celebrated under strict Covid-19 protocols laid down by the State Government.

Singh said, “The restrictions imposed by the State Government and Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) for the celebrations of Christmas and New Year will be strictly followed in Bhubaneswar too.”

“As Omicron cases are increasing across the globe, the BMC has so far declared six places as micro containment zones in Bhubaneswar. Two of the six places have been declared containment zones because two residents of the areas have recently returned from foreign countries,” he said.

Singh said though the possibility of the foreign returnees having contracted Omicron is still not known, they have been shifted to designated hospitals and their houses where they lived have been marked as containment zones. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing, informed the civic chief.

“Similarly, though none of the infected persons at four flats in Cosmopolis Apartment arrived from a foreign country, their flats have been declared containment zones to contain the further spread of the virus,” added Singh.

The BMC on Wednesday declared four flats (Flat No. G-151, G-132, G-142 and G-112) of Cosmopolis Apartment in Ward No 64  of the Capital city as containment zones following the detection of 8 Covid-19 positive cases.