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Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: With reports of a surge in Covid-19 cases received from some states in the country, the Director of Public Health in Odisha Dr. Niranjan Mishra has cautioned of a possible increase in the infection in the State.

Though Mishra dismissed speculations over a second wave of Covid infection in the State, he said with the ease in lockdown norms cases might witness a rise in the State.

"It is difficult to say the surge in Covid-19 cases in the State is a second wave or a local spike. As people have become a little careless and movement has also increased, the cases might see an upward trend," said the State Public Health Director.

Meanwhile, Odisha has increased the surveillance on people coming from outside the State. As per WHO's direction--test, track and treat-- contact tracing of coronavirus positive patients has to be enhanced and targeted sampling has to be done in areas reporting the maximum number of cases. With these basic norms, the pandemic situation can be kept under control, asserted Mishra.

"The State government has maintained a strict vigil on people coming from 5 high-risk states of the country and symptomatic travelers are being tested and their contacts traced," added Mishra.

Mishra further stated, "Every epidemic has a natural life span and there are upward and downward trends in it. When the upward curve remains sustained, it will be called a second wave and it varies on the number of testing and tracking. Therefore, predicting that the increase in Covid-19 cases is the second wave is difficult," he added.

At a time when the alert by the Director of Public Health is concerning, Odisha in the meantime is planning to speed up the vaccination process and inoculate around 1 lakh senior citizens a day. In order to enhance the vaccination count, the drive will be carried out six days a week, except Sundays.

As the State usually experiences intense heat-wave conditions in May and June, the concerned authorities intend to complete the vaccination of people over 60 years of age in the next one and a half months.

Odisha Health and Family Welfare Director Bijay Panigrahi informed, "We have set a target of inoculating 1 lakh senior citizens daily. At present, around 700 Covid-19 Vaccination Centres (CVC) are carrying out the vaccination drive and we have decided to increase it to over 1000 so that we can achieve the goal," he said.

The present CVCs are enough to achieve the target but around 8,000 vaccination centres have been kept ready which can be pressed into action if needed, said Panigrahi.


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