The Odisha government on Friday announced a complete lockdown of Bhubaneswar, Bhadrak and Cuttack cities for 48 hours, including bans on certain essential services as well, beginning at 8 pm, The Indian Express reported. The Naveen Patnaik-led government took the decision after an individual who had no history of travel outside the country or the state reported positive for the coronavirus.
The Odisha government had on Thursday announced the identity of the state’s fifth case, departing from its policy of not identifying Covid-19-infected patients. The government published the name and complete address of the patient and advised people who have come in contact with the patient to remain at home for the next 14 days. It said the infected person had no history of travel outside the state.
“We have reason to suspect community transmission,” Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said on Friday, referring to Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak. “Our surveillance has to be taken one step forward.” He said violators of the new order will compulsorily be placed in government quarantine for 14 days.
Backing him, state Director General of Police Abhay said the 48-hour shutdown is “almost a curfew”. “In the current lockdown system grocery shops and essential commodities shops were open,” Abhay said. “In this system, for 48 hours all shops [like fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, dairy] will remain closed. Medical services that were completely open will also operate under restrictions”.
He said these restrictions meant that the local authorities will determine how many medical shops will remain open.
“We had issued a number of passes for essential services,” Abhay added. “All passes given in Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak will remain suspended for these 48 hours. New passes may be issued for doctors, but the number of essential services has been reduced.” Abhay said national highways that pass through Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak do not fall under these restrictions.
Later on Friday, the office of the chief secretary added that one person had been found positive for Covid-19 in Cuttack, and therefore the 48-hour shutdown was being extended to the city. This takes the number of infected persons in Odisha to six.
Tamil Nadu chief minister warns of tighter lockdown
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday warned of tightening the prohibitory orders in place in the state to implement the lockdown, alleging that people were yet to understand the seriousness of the contagion, PTI reported. Palaniswami said that many people were being “casual” about Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which prohibits the assembly of more than four persons.
“Though people are aware that it has affected some countries very badly, they were still not realising the gravity of the situation and many are casually roaming around in two wheelers and cars,” Palaniswami said. “What the government requests is, realise the impact of the disease. Doctors say there is no medicine available for the virus. It has rattled the world and people should fully cooperate with the government in preventing its spread.”
Tamil Nadu has so far reported 309 cases of Covid-19, the second-highest after Maharashtra.
There have been 2,301 cases of Covid-19 disease in India as of Friday morning. Of these, 56 patients have died, 156 have been cured or discharged and one has left the country, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.