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Weekend Shutdown: People Adhere To Norms, Stay Indoors In 11 Odisha Districts

Bhubaneswar: People stayed indoors as the two-day weekend shutdown imposed by the Odisha government in 11 of the 30 districts with high COVID-19 cases ended on Sunday as part of efforts to flatten the rising corona infection curve.

Roads also wore an empty in the districts with people consciously refraining from stepping out in strict adherence to the two-day weekend shutdown restrictions since Saturday in these districts where Covid cases have been rising, officials said.

However, security was tightened as part of measures to enforce the complete shutdown of non-essential services on Saturdays and Sundays in the 11 districts – Ganjam, Puri, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Bolangir, they said.

The two-day weekend shutdown will continue in these districts till the end of June, they said.

While all offices, groceries and vegetable shops remained shut in these districts, airports, railway stations, bus terminals and movement of associated personnel and activities were allowed during the shutdown period, a senior official said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had in a video message appealed to the people not to step out of homes unnecessarily and strictly adhere to the social distancing norms along with other government guidelines to stay protected from the deadly virus. Patnaik also described the month of June as extremely critical in the battle against Covid-19.

“The two-day shutdown is being implemented in these 11 districts till this month end because of the spike in fresh cases from these areas following return of a large number of migrants from different parts of the country,” a senior official said.

The number of Covid cases recorded a sharp increase after relaxations provided in travel norms, he said, adding that most of the migrants have been returning to these districts and placed in institutional quarantine since early May. Most of the new cases are coming from the returnees, he said.

More than 5 lakh migrants have returned to the state since May 3 when the process began and many more are expected to come back in days ahead, he said, adding that around 95 per cent of the fresh Covid cases have been reported from different quarantine centres where the returnees are kept.

In Ganjam district, where maximum number of migrants have returned, the shutdown was complete. Barring some police vehicles and the vans, carrying cooking gases, not a single vehicle was seen on the road. Similarly, except the medicine shops, other shops and business establishments downed their shutters.

Essential services including healthcare, drinking water and electricity supply, RBI, other clearing houses and ATM counters were allowed to remain open during the two days.

There was no restriction on movement of people associated with these organisations.

Public transport was also allowed to operate for the convenience of people going to or coming from airports, railway stations and bus stands. Similarly, home delivery of food by restaurants and aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy and distribution of LPG cylinders was permitted.

In state capital Bhubaneswar and neighbouring Cuttack, police personnel undertook intensive patrolling and set up barricades in some areas, a police official said.

“The aim is to contain the spread of Covid-19. Adequate force is being deployed in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to restrict non-essential movement. We appeal all to stay at home. People should carry identity cards in case they come out of their homes,” said Bhubaneswar- Cuttack Police Commissioner, Sudhanshu Sarangi.

Odisha has so far reported 2,856 Covid cases, while 1,894 patients have recovered and nine people have died.

Of the 11 districts where weekend shutdown was clamped, Ganjam reported the highest number of 598 Covid cases, followed by Jajpur at 319, Khurda (244), Balasore (190), Cuttack (172), Kendrapara (166), Bhadrak (140), Bolangir (121) and Puri (101).

(With Agency Inputs)

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