Odisha extends lockdown which was to end tomorrow until June 1

Published : May 18, 2021 19:15 IST

Members of BPL families wait to collect their free rations at a distribution centre during the lockdown, in Bhubaneswar on May 17. Photo: BISWARANJAN ROUT

The Odisha government has extended the ongoing lockdown until 5 a.m. on June 1 in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in the State. The lockdown which began on May 5 was earlier to end on May 19.

There will be complete shutdown in the State on weekends, starting from 6 p.m. on Friday until 5 a.m. on Monday, said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra while announcing the lockdown extension on May 18.

Mohapatra said that the lockdown since May 5 had helped check the rate of growth of COVID cases, particularly in the districts bordering Chhattisgarh. He said those found roaming outside without any valid reason during the lockdown would be taken to task. The movement of good and goods carriers would not be affected, he added. In the extended lockdown period, the six-hour window between 6 a.m. and 12 noon given to people for buying essential goods on week days would be reduced to four hours, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Mohapatra said that participation in marriages had been brought down from 50 persons to 25. The number of persons participating in thread ceremony, funerals and last rites should not be more than 20, including hosts, priests and catering and other support staff. No community feast should be organised during all these functions and only takeaway food should be allowed for guests.

Mohapatra said the infection had started spreading in rural areas with migrant workers returning from other States, and appealed to people to adhere to COVID protocols. During the lockdown all health services would remain functional, so would agricultural and horticultural activities, and construction activities would be allowed in both government and private sector, according to an official notification.

Announcing formation of a task force to look at immediate needs as well as plan for future exigencies, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said on May 17 that a three-month house-to-house survey by Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Anganwadi workers would begin on May 24 to detect COVID-19 symptoms and co-morbid conditions in people. These workers would get additional incentive of Rs.1,000 for these three months.

For COVID-19 affected families, Patnaik said that the Madhubabu Pension Yojana would continue to cover widows and orphaned children, and the children would also get free education.

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