Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday announced to lockdown 40 percent of Odisha including the State Capital for a week to keep COVID-19 at bay. However, flight, train, bus and essential services are exempted from the lockdown.
Five districts and eight major towns of the State will be lockdowned from March 22 to 29. These are the districts where more than 70 percent of the total 3200 foreign returnees belong to.
CM Naveen informed that more than 3000 people who have returned from foreign countries have been advised for home quarantine. A majority of them belong to the districts of Khurdha, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada, Angul and the towns of Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Jajpur road and Jajpur town and Bhadrak.
“Hence in the first phase, we are going for a near complete lockdown in all these areas from 7 A.M. tomorrow till 9pm of 29th March. I humbly request you to stay at home and come out only for basic services,” the CM said.
Hospitals, clinics, medical shops, grocery shops, restaurants (only takeaways and home deliveries) vegetables, meat and milk shops/bread and bakery (but selling of tea and other beverages in the same premises have to be closed), Railways, Bus stands Airports will be open as also Public Transport.
Administration, Police, Health, Fire, ODRAF, Electricity, Water, Municipal Services, Banks, ATMs, Petrol pumps shall remain open along with private establishments that support the above services or are linked to the fight against coronavirus.
In the five districts and the eight towns all distribution of benefits such as Pension and PDS are postponed for the time being. District Collectors are empowered to add or delete any sector /service to this list based on local assessment.
Private companies will be advised to encourage work from home. In case they cannot do so and need to continue they need to get a certificate from the concerned Collector to continue.
All service providers, including private sector engaged in COVID-19 will be declared as Emergency Workers.
The CM appealed to take care of people who have worked for us for long years and pay them their wages for this time even though their services are discontinued temporarily. These are extraordinary times, all have to pitch in. The police cannot enforce this everywhere. All have to see it as their responsibility to protect our lives.
“It is the duty of the community, specifically Sarpanches and elected representatives and other community leaders to keep a close watch and monitor this lockdown. 4.5 crore people of Odisha are my family and I am concerned about the wellbeing of each one of you,” said Patnaik.