Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: Amid fears of  coronavirus spread,  the State Health Department on Thursday instructed Collectors in 12 districts to closely monitor people who were evacuated to cyclone shelters and personnel deployed in the management, restoration works for cyclonic storm Yaas.

The Additional Chief Secretary of Health Department PK Mohapatra has written to the districts collectors of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Puri, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Angul and Khordha on Thursday.

“Due to cyclone Yaas, many families in your district had been shifted to cyclone shelters where due to necessity they stayed in close quarters,” stated Mohapatra in a letter adding that many persons engaged in cyclone restoration works in the field have also due to necessity, worked in close proximity to others.

“As the families in the cyclone shelters are now returning to their homes and the restoration works will also be completed over time, it is important that the concerned persons should be closely monitored for Covid symptoms over the coming weeks,” said the health department’s top official.

To ensure this, the house to house survey teams should be sensitised to be particularly vigilant in surveillance of the cyclone shelter returned families and field restoration team persons, he said.

“Such persons should also be sensitised to monitor their own health in case of any symptoms. They should be immediately isolated and tested for Covid-19” the letter read.

Ahead of the landfall of  cyclone Yaas on Wednesday morning, the State government had evacuated around 6.5 lakh people, including 1.52 lakh in Balasore, 1.20 lakh in Bhadrak, 1.05 lakh in Kendrapara and 1 lakh in Mayurbhanj districts. People from these districts were shifted to over 7000 cyclone shelters.

The state government had also made massive deployment for rescue, restoration and relief measures in the areas to be affected by the cyclonic storm.

The SRC had said 52 NDRF, 60 ODRAF, 206 Fire Service and 86 wood cutting teams of Forest and Environment department included a total of 404 teams which were pre-positioned in 10 coastal and adjoining districts for search, rescue and road clearance.