As the 14-day partial lockdown in Odisha set to end tomorrow July 1 (5 am), the State government is likely to announce new Covid pandemic guidelines for July today.
Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra will brief the press regarding the Covid-19 management in the State at around 2.30 pm on Wednesday. Mohapatra might announce new pandemic protocols for the month of July in his address.
As per the data in the State Health Dashboard, the test positivity rate (TPR) in as many as 10 districts remained above 5 %. The positivity rate in Balasore is at 13.5 percent, followed by Malkangiri (7.5), Puri (7.5), Nayagarh (6.2), Cuttack (6.1), Mayurbhanj (5.9), Bhadrak (5.7), Khordha (5.5), Jagatsinghpur (5.3) and Dhenkanal (5.3).
The trend indicates most concerning figures of increasing TPR in Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Cuttack, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghgpur since last week.
While the State government has flagged Malkangiri and Balasore under red zone, eight districts- Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Nayagarh, Khordha and Puri are in yellow zone. The rest 20 districts with TPR less than 5 percent are in green zone.
Sources said, the implementation of new Covid-19 guidelines will be made stricter in the districts that are showing an increase in the infection rate or where the TPR is considerably high as compared to other districts of the State.
However, the State government may go for more relaxations in the districts exhibiting less than 5 percent of TPR for an extended period of time. But 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.
Chief of Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DMET), CBK Mohanty said, "Unlocking is necessary for sustenance but govt will announce new guidelines by taking into account various factors of infection outbreak at the district level. Relaxations will be allowed but restrictions will continue wherever necessary."
In the meantime, speculations are also rife whether the Twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack will see relaxation in the Covid-19 curbs from July. The active cases stood at 4,116 in Cuttack and 5,203 in Khordha including Bhubaneswar.
The State today reported 48 deaths, highest one-day fatalities so far, due to Covid-19 infection and 3,371 cases in the last 24 hours. With this, the Covid-19 death toll surged to 4,018 and caseload remained at 9,09,800.
The Odisha government clamped lockdown 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 which was again extended till July 1 (5 am).
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)