Bhubaneswar: A day after declaring the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak as State Disaster, Odisha government on Saturday restricted the movement of tourists in and around Puri which is one of the most sought-after tourism destinations in the State.
Speaking in this regard, Puri Collector Balwant Singh said, “We request people coming to visit Puri to defer their plans at least for some days barring emergencies because we have temporarily closed down tourist places in the region for the benefit of masses.”
Sources said the district administration has clamped restrictions on movement of tourists from Puri to nearby Satpada Chilika and Konark. Tour bus operation on these routes have also been restricted, informed Puri District Tourism Officer.
Earlier in the day, the Nadankanan Zoological Park authorities informed that the capital-based zoo will remain out of bound for visitors from March 15till March 31.
Meanwhile, an Odisha youth, who returned from Italy, the new epicenter of the novel Coronavirus disease, on March 2, was admitted to Cuttack SCB hospital for Covid-19 testing after he complained of cough and cold. His blood and swab samples will be sent to RMRC, Bhubaneswar tomorrow, informed sources.
In another development, a minor girl from Lithuania, who was admitted to Puri district headquarters hospital for Coronavirus testing, went missing sparking concerns. The girl along with 2 other women who had arrived in Puri on a 15-day tour of Odisha went missing just before their swab tests.
As per reports, the minor girl had complained of cold and cough for the last three weeks. Suspecting her to have contracted some kind of infection, the women accompanying her first admitted her to a private hospital in the pilgrim town and then shifted her to the District Headquarters Hospital from where all the three are now untraceable.
On the other hand, the State government on Saturday asked the district authorities to close down all anganwadi centres to prevent any possibility of spread in Covid-19. In a letter to all collectors, the department of WCD said even though the centres will remain closed, the authorities should ensure that entitlements of morning snacks and hot cook meals of the pre-school children in the age group of 3 to 6 years are provided to their households so that there is no disruption in feeding under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme.
In a related development, the Odisha government also appointed the Chairperson of Odisha Skill Development Authority, Subroto Bagchi to head the IEC team constituted to spread awareness on containment of Coronavirus. He will also be the chief spokesperson of Odisha government on COVID-19.
The authorities of Central University of Odisha in Koraput also shut down the varsity in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Similarly, the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissioner, Sudhanshu Sarangi today clarified that all coaching, tuition centres are covered under the closure order of Odisha govt and parents are advised not to send their children to coaching centres.