Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: The onset of Covid19 outbreak in Odisha a few months ago made experts believe that July could be a pivotal period for the State's fight against the pandemic, but the trend of new cases and fatalities is telling a different tale.

The detection of over 3000 SARS-nCoV cases and 20 fatalities in the first two days of August has made State government go into hyper.

As per Health department data, Odisha's COVID-19 death toll was 27 in the beginning of July and by the end of the month it surged to 177. However, death of 20 more persons with the disease in the first two days of August has swiftly taken the toll to 197.

The trend has now made experts put their pen and paper for recalculation with many claiming that the month of August might play out to be most crucial and may test COVID management prowess of Odisha.

On the other hand, some others are of the view that if the current COVID trend continues, the situation will remain stable in August.

"If we take a look on the last seven days, around 1200-1600 new Covid cases were reported each day. If the same figure continues for the next seven days, we will have to assume that the cases may remain stable, increase or gradually decrease," said Ashok Mohapatra, former director of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar.

Meanwhile, the State government has already chalked out a special strategy for the month of August to save both lives and livelihood and also come up with stern guidelines for COVID-19 norms violators.

Apart from allowing relaxation to various economic activities under the Centre's Unlock3 guidelines following a fortnight of strict lockdown in the five high Covid caseload pockets and shutdowns in various other regions, the government has also set a target to conduct 20,000 tests a day.

The State has fixed a penalty of Rs 1000 for not wearing masks for first two violations and Rs 5000 for subsequent infringement.

Similarly, business/shop owners will have to pay Rs 10,000 as penalty. Authorities have been empowered to seal their premises in case of violation of social distancing norms.

Moreover, a provision of Rs 10,000 penalty has also been ordered for violations during marriage functions apart from sealing of banquet halls/mandaps.

Congregation has been restricted in marriages to participation of 50 persons while not more than 20 persons will be allowed in funerals.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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