Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has barred the media from revealing information about the COVID-19 infected persons, their family members, doctors and health workers treating the patient.
The advisory has been issued under Section-2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and in conformity with Rule 17 of guidelines issued by the Press Council of India, informed Odisha government’s spokesperson on COVID-19, Subroto Bagchi today.
Bagchi added that the directive to not reveal information about the infected person has been taken to ensure safety of the family members and medical staff treating the patient. Also, no media house is allowed to interview the infected person, his/her family members, doctors and associates who treated the patient.
Bagchi said that the restriction has been imposed on print, electronic, web and social media, flouting of which will be considered as a cognizable offence and will entail strict punishment.
“No media can interview any patient affected with COVID-19 or his/her parents, relatives, treating doctors and assisting medical staff in any form,” said Bagchi.
Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, the Odisha government has also decided to bring more number of beneficiaries under the food security programme. Nearly, 5 lakh more people belonging to financially-weaker section of the society will get benefit under the programmes.
Under the Public Distribution Scheme, each of the new beneficiaries will be given 5 kilograms of rice at the cost of Rs 1 per kg every month and from March 24, rice will be given in advance for the months of April, May, and June.
Similarly, dry food items will be given to school students for three months in advance under the mid-day meal programme. To collect the food items, coupons will be given to parents/guardians who can collect it from the designated supply centres.
The State government has directed all the district education officers, block education officers and supply officers to execute the distribution process.
Earlier today, to check the spread of coronavirus, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a near-total lockdown of 5 districts and 8 towns including the State capital for a week.
According to the announcement made by the CM, five districts and eight major towns in the State will be locked-down from 7 AM on March 22 till 9 PM on March 29. The districts of Khurda, Ganjam, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Angul, along with towns of Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Bhadrak, Puri, Jajpur Road, Jajpur Town and Rourkela will be covered under this lockdown.