Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the festive season knocks on the door of Odisha, beginning with Ganesh Puja like every year, health experts in the State have pressed the warning button for a possible rapid surge in COVID infection.

Taking cue from the famous Onam festival which acted as a catalyst and increased the daily infection count in Kerala manifold, health experts here apprehend a similar situation in the aftermath of the festive season if the State government did not take timely stringent measures.

Health expert, Niraj Mishra said, “We should forget gatherings for at least the next 3-4 months. Night curfew is a must.”

As per the data available, Kerala has been witnessing more than 30,000 daily positives after Onam festivital. In fact, the Union Health and Family Welfare Department has also advised all states to be extra vigilant in the months of September and October.

Director, Health Services, Bijay Mohapatra said, “People should religiously follow all COVID guidelines in place during the festive season. The Union government has issued guidelines to all states regarding the same. Odisha government will issue its guidelines in due time.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner has already clamped restrictions on the observance of festivals from August to November. Only rituals have been allowed at Ganesh Puja, Dussehra, Laxmi Puja and Kali Puja Mandaps. Devotees have been completely barred from the pandals.

Meanwhile, Odisha reported 816 positive cases on Thursday, the data of which was released by the government on Friday. However, the worrisome trend of more children getting infected with COVID19 raised concern among experts.

“Everybody is getting infected by the virus including infants and minors. As far as the vaccine for children is concerned, we will start vaccinating them only after the expert group approved the administration,” said Bijay Panigrahi, Director of Odisha Family Welfare Department.

As per reports, there are 16 lakh people in Odisha waiting for the second dose of vaccine, out of which 13 lakh have already crossed the stipulated time frame of receiving the second jab. Around 50 lakh people in the State have been completely vaccinated.

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