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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Hours after making an appeal to the people returning home from abroad to register themselves with the official COVID-19 portal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday registered his sister Gita Mehta's name on the portal after her return from the US.

Patnaik's elder sister Gita Mehta (77) stays in the USA and usually visits her late father Biju Patnaik's house every year in March.

Mehta remained in "home isolation" at the Naveen Niwas, the chief minister's residence near the city airport.

"I have registered my sister's details on the government portal for persons coming from abroad," Patnaik said in a tweet.

The chief minister lodged his sister's details in the designated portal within 24 hours of her arrival, an official said.

While making an appeal to other foreign returnees to inform the government about their tour, Patnaik thanked Gajapati Maharaja of Puri and his family members for themselves intimating about their arrival from the US and going into the self- quarantine.

The state government has already announced an incentive of Rs 15,000 for registration of foreign returnees and isolating themselves at their homes.

"I appeal to everyone coming from abroad to mandatorily register themselves through the toll-free number 104 or online portal -- covid19.odisha.gov.in -- within 24 hours of arrival in Odisha, to prevent the spread of the disease in the state," Patnaik said in a video message.

Self-disclosure will help the administration in tracking and containing the virus outbreak, he said.

As many as 1,239 people have already registered their names with the portal and through helpline number by Tuesday.

Police on Wednesday raided some hotels and guest houses in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack for allegedly ignoring the government's advisory and not informing the administration about their guests.

A guest house in Jaydev Vihar in the state capital was sealed, a senior official said.

"A group of people from Maharashtra and Delhi had stayed in this guest house, but the owner did not inform the administration. Therefore, we have sealed the facility," he said.

As part from its measures to tackle the spread of the disease, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) ordered that the seven major 'haats' in the State capital will function between 6 AM to 6 PM.

The state government also issued an advisory to all religious institutions within the State to strictly adhere to the advisories and stress on social distancing.

Similarly, the Finance Department of the State government issued an advisory for all the banks and asked them to adhere to it control COVID-19 disease.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed those involved in combating the coronavirus outbreak as he responded to several tweets on the fight against the deadly virus. He also appreciated Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for setting an example by registering his sister's details in the government portal for people coming from abroad.

"I hope others also emulate Naveen Babu. We all can do our bit in preventing the spread of COVID-19," Modi said.

Responding to a tweet by a man whose daughter was rescued from COVID-19-hit Italy, the prime minister said, "Will do everything possible to help our citizens."

Such efforts are possible due to teamwork, he said, lauding all those working to make it possible.

To a doctor who posted a picture of himself with a message urging people to stay at home, Modi said, "Well said, Doctor! Also a shout-out to all those working to make our planet safer and healthier. No words will ever do justice to their exceptional efforts."

The prime minister also urged researchers, innovators and tech-lovers to rise to the occasion and ideate for a better planet.

Responding to a Twitter user who said his firm is closed and was continuing to service clients remotely, Modi said, "That is the spirit! Precaution and productivity both are possible in these times. Best wishes to you and your team."

Replying to a tweet praising his initiative of bringing SAARC countries together for combating COVID-19, he said working together can lead to good results, benefiting so many people.

"I thank PM Hasina for sharing her insightful views during the video conference with fellow SAARC leaders," Modi said.

(PTI)

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