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Bikram B

Bhubaneswar: With Corononavirus positive cases standing at two and as most samples testing negative, Odisha continues to press ahead with precautionary steps to ensure that the spread of the virus is contained.

The state government’s focus seems to be ramping up isolation and quarantine capacity, while it continues to order lockdown in phases. In his daily briefing today, the government’s spokesperson on Coronavirus,  Subroto Bagchi said that “At the district level, we are continuously expanding the capacity of  isolation facilities at hospitals and healthcare centres. So far, 3,183 isolation beds have been kept ready at different government and private hospitals across various districts of the state. The state government has initiated steps to ensure that quarantine facilities are available at the gram panchayat level. In Cuttack Municipal Corporation area 2,150 beds, 840 beds in Berhampur Municipal Corporation area, and 99 beds in Bhubaneswar have been kept ready, he said.

Meetings of the members of 6,798 gram panchayats across the state have been conducted and around 2.37 lakh gram panchayat members have been sensitized about the Coronavirus threat.

While informing about the response system in rural areas, he said that to provide immediate medical support in rural areas, 7,167 temporary medical camps have been established and bed capacity has been increased across all the gram panchayats.  The jail superintendents have been asked to identify a designated, clean and ventilated space to be kept ready as isolation area.

In the past 24 hours, over 12,000 calls have been received on the helpline number 104 and on the self-declaration portal of the Odisha government, 2,626 people who returned from abroad have registered for self quarantine, he added.

State government sources informed that there is an inbound call centre with around 40 to 50 people, who manage the helpline calls, registrations and requests on our website and by tomorrow the capacity will be enhanced to around 150 so that more number of queries and registrations could be handled. There will be around 15 doctors who will give expert advice to callers and the call centre will operate 24/7. Moreover, the state government has also decided to set up an outbound call centre as well to connect with people who have registered and call them twice a day to check the status of home quarantine. As per government sources, the outbound call centre will help in collecting more details about the people under home quarantine and that data will help in strategizing response.

In a move to ensure that the elderly do not face problems, the State government has announced that 48,38,548 beneficiaries under the social security scheme will receive 4 months pension in advance.

Announcing further lockdowns to encourage social distancing, the State government today announced that all temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, & other religious establishments in the state will remain closed for public, though rituals will continue as per schedule. In rural and urban areas all high-end salon, spas and beauty parlours will be closed until further orders while there will be no cultural programmes and public will not be allowed to any museums, theatres and libraries. Moreover, the state government has asked people not to use open water bodies like ponds for bathing and should use tube wells and hand pumps instead. All parks under the Forest & Environment department, the Bhitarkanika Nature Camp, Jaydev Vatika and the Botanical Garden in Bhubaneswar have also been shut down.

The state government has directed that any of its employees who develop Coronavirus symptoms to take permission from their senior authorities and remain under a 14-day home isolation.

However, the State government clarified that interstate transportation vehicles carrying goods and commodities will not be stopped at the borders. Moreover, the government assured that there is no harm in consuming eggs and chicken and urged everyone to ensure proper hygiene while consuming them.

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