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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Be it Bhubaneswar, Puri or Cuttack, rising COVID-19 cases especially in slum pockets has now emerged as a major concern for Odisha government.

Most of the slum areas in different parts of the State are fast turning into COVID-19 hotspots with several already being declared containment zones by respective civic or district administration authorities to contain further spread. The situation is more alarming in Bhubaneswar where the COVID-19 tally neared 2,500 mark after a record surge of 215 new cases on Tuesday. In Bhubaneswar, Trinath basti, Ganpati nagar, Gandhi basti, Sitapur, Saliasahi, Harinagar, Akhandalmani slum in Unit-1 and slum near Bayababa mutt in Unit-9 area are the vulnerable pockets. According to sources, there is even a risk of community transmission in at least five slum areas in the smart city.

“We are in a state of panic as several positive cases have been detected. So far, no steps have been taken by BMC for sanitisation,” said Laxmipriya Barik, a slum dweller.

The spike in COVID-19 can be attributed to non-adherence to the prescribed norms and other advisories issued by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). All the restrictions imposed by BMC have failed to yield results for which local transmission is now posing a serious challenge in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

Out of the total 3,572 COVID-19 cases in Khurda district, 2,365 cases alone have been reported from BMC limits.

BMC Commissioner, Prem Chandra Chaudhary said, “We are conducting 1200 to 1500 tests per day and our testing strategy is more aggressive for slums than non-slum areas. Around 10 to 15 per cent of the active caseload belong to slum areas and 80% of the cases are asymptomatic.”

The situation is slightly different in Cuttack where maximum cases have been reported from non-slum areas. Positive cases are being reported almost on a daily basis from localities like Khatbin Sahi, Rausapatna, Sheikh Bazaar, Shankarpur, Manikghose bazaar, Mangalabag and Malisahi areas. Out of the total 1,885 COVID-19 cases from the district, 777 cases have been reported from Cuttack city (CMC area) so far. There has been a spurt in new positives after 24 cases were reported from Dagarpada and 23 cases from Buxi Bazaar, Baseli Sahi.

The situation in Puri is also not encouraging given the fact that COVID-19 cases have been reported from 32 wards including Penthakata, Baliapanda and Bali Upar slum in the piligrim town. There are 114 active cases out of the total the 162 positive cases reported from Puri town. Official sources said 47 cases belong to Penthakatha and as many people are illegally entering the city from Andhra Pradesh, it has now posed a major headache for the local administration.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

Also Read: COVID-19 Situation Grim In Bhubaneswar, CM Naveen Should Seek Amit Shah’s Help: BJP

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