Bhubaneswar: With Coronavirus continuing to wreak havoc across the globe claiming the lives of thousands of people, Odisha government on Sunday came up with a six-month action plan to fight the global pandemic.
As part of the action plan, the government has constituted a high-level committee and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will directly monitor its functioning. The government will provide the latest update on Coronavirus to the people of the State at 4.30 PM every day.
“This is not a fight of one week or four, the CM has asked us to remain alert for at least six months. With the support of the public, we will go ahead with the fight against Coronavirus,” said Odisha government's COVID-19 spokesperson Subroto Bagchi.
He said social distancing without panicking is the most important aspect in containing Coronavirus.
According to sources, IAS officers Somesh Kumar Upadhyay, Ms P Anvesha Reddy, Patil Asish Ishwar and Divakara TS have been posted as officers on special duty in the health and family welfare department in addition to their own duty till March 30 for enforcement of the ‘Odisha COVID-19 Regulation, 2020.
Meanwhile, Coronavirus outbreak has badly hit the business in the State with people preferring not to visit shopping malls and markets fearing contamination of the virus. The retail business has reportedly dropped by 35 per cent in the last couple of days rising worries of the traders.
Shopping malls in Bhubaneswar which usually witness heavy rush on holidays like Sunday, wore a deserted look today. Though some traders opened their shops and wore masks on their face, many shops remained closed.
“Huge rush is expected on Sunday, but no one is coming to the mall today. We will have to face a severe problem as we have to survive with no business. As the crisis will continue, there is chances of breakeven,” said Rahul Agarwal, a shopping mall businessman.
Arun Patra, store manager, Big Bazaar, Nayapalli, said, “We gave provided masks and hand wash to the staff.”
“I went to a shopping mall to buy a mobile. I saw the mall is deserted as no customer was around. People are so afraid that they are not coming out of their houses,” said Deepak Behera, a resident of Bhubaneswar.
Malgodown, which is the hub of business in Cuttack, also bore the brunt of the global pandemic. Traders who set up their shops here have reportedly not come to the place for the past couple of days.
While the business establishments across the State do a business of Rs 400 crore every day, the figure has come down to Rs 200 to Rs 250 crore now. Traders attributed the low business to the closure of schools, suspension of classes in coaching centres and low marriage and other parties. They fear that if such a situation continues, it will hit hard the economy of the State.
Prafulla Chhatei, general secretary of Cuttack Chamber of commerce, said, “As the government has imposed restriction, the consumption of people has decreased which led to drop in purchasing. The crisis will become bigger in coming days.”
Sudhakar Panda, general secretary of State Traders’ Federation, said, “The Odisha government is losing Rs 700 to 800 crore every day due to the crisis. If the situation continues, it will affect the economy and budget of the State.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through a tweet advised people to adopt some safety measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. He asked people to keep away from social gatherings like marriage parties and religious congregation. The CM further advised people who visit to the outside state to give details by dialling tollfree number 104.
The district administration of Khurda, Ganjam and Gajapati on Sunday cancelled leaves of all government employees from tomorrow and imposed restriction on movement of tourists at various sites like Kalijai, Nalabana, Mangalajodi, Gandahati, Chandragiri. Similarly, prohibitory orders under section 144 of IPC have been enforced in Ganjam district to prevent public gathering in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.
Top tourist and religious sites in Odisha including Sun Temple in Konark on Sunday shut their doors for visitors as a precautionary measure to stem the spread of novel-Coronavirus. Similarly, a slew of restrictions has been imposed in Puri Srimandir, the shrine of Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar in the wake of the viral outbreak.
Meanwhile, the number of Coronavirus infections has risen to 107 in India. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the status of actions taken by the states and Union Territories for prevention and containment of Coronavirus and directed officials to scale up the capacity of the round-the-clock control room helpline in view of an increased volume of queries.
India on Sunday offered $10 million to set up a common voluntary emergency fund for the members of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative was taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in view of the WHO advisory to avoid public gatherings.