Orissa lockdown

Odisha government announces lockdown for two weeks from May 5 to May 19, declares journalists as frontline COVID-19 warriors

Published : May 04, 2021 12:37 IST

Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik. Photo: BISWARANJAN ROUT

With the number of fresh COVID-19 cases rising in different parts of the State, the Odisha government has announced a two-week lockdown in the State from May 5 to 19.

Odisha reported 8,216 fresh COVID-19 cases on May 4, taking the total tally to 4,79,752. While the number of active cases stood at 73,548, the official death toll increased to 2,088, with 15 deaths reported on May 3. With the number of fresh COVID-19 cases rising in different parts of the State, the Odisha government has announced a two-week lockdown in the State from May 5 to 19.

“The lockdown is primarily aimed at restricting movement of persons. Movement of goods and goods carrier will not be affected by the lockdown,” according to an official notification. Vaccination and testing drives have been kept out of the purview of the lockdown.

People can get their essential needs, including grocery and vegetables, between 6 a.m. and 12 noon during the lockdown days. Vendors have been asked to maintain physical distance and restaurants and roadside eateries can function for takeaways and home deliveries.

Journalists declared frontline COVID-19 warriors

On May 2, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared working journalists of the State as frontline COVID-19 warriors. He has also announced an ex gratia payment of Rs.15 lakh to the next of kin of journalists who succumb to COVID-19 as per a policy that his government adopted last year.

Patnaik’s announcement came days after the Editors Guild of India reiterated its demand that journalists reporting on the worsening pandemic be declared as frontline workers and be given priority in vaccination.

Patnaik said that working journalists were doing a great service to the State by providing seamless news feeds, making people aware of issues relating to COVID-19 during these trying times and they were a great support in the war against COVID-19.

“Commend their commitment to provide reliable and verified information during COVID-19 pandemic, often risking their lives,” Patnaik tweeted, while extending greetings to journalists and media persons on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

The State government has already started facilitating vaccination of journalists in Bhubaneswar and other places and many journalists in 18-45 age group have taken the jab.

Odisha’s decision is expected to benefit 6,944 working journalists who are already covered under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana and were entitled to a health insurance cover of Rs.2 lakh each.

As many as 17 journalists have fallen victim to COVID-19 in Odisha since the second wave of the pandemic hit the State in March this year. The State government has already identified 12 journalists who have lost their lives in the second wave and the process for the payment of the ex gratia compensation to their family members has started, according to official sources.

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