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Covid-19: Odisha extends lockdown till April 30, becomes first state to do so

Naveen said activities linked to agriculture, animal husbandry and MGNREGS will be facilitated

By PTI in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 9.04.20, 9:16 PM
  • Updated 10.04.20, 12:06 AM
  • 2 mins read
Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik gives a final touch to his sand sculpture on awareness about coronavirus, at Puri beach, Monday, April 6, 2020. PTI

The Odisha government on Thursday announced extension of the ongoing lockdown till April 30, the first state to do so while the Centre weighs proposals by many states to extend the shutdown in the face of the burgeoning Covid-19 crisis.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who announced the decision after a meeting with his Cabinet, also declared that schools and other educational institutions would remain closed till June 17.

“We have decided to extend the lockdown till April 30. We will also recommend to the Government of India to extend the national lockdown up to 30th April,” Patnaik said in a video message soon after the Cabinet meeting he held with five senior ministers through video-conferencing.

Odisha has recorded 44 positive cases of coronavirus so far and one death from the disease.

The unprecedented nationwide lockdown was declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 to break the chain of the coronavirus transmission and it was scheduled to be lifted on April 15.

While thanking people for cooperating during the lockdown, Patnaik said, “I know it involves a lot of sacrifice, hardship and uncertainty but this is the only way to face the situation.”

The chief minister said Odisha reported the first Covid-19 case on March 15 and the number went up to 42 till Wednesday which was not an exponential rise. It was made possible because of the discipline and sacrifice of the people of the state, he said.

In the same period, the US, a superpower, has moved from 3,000 to 4 lakh cases. “The United States has lost more people to Covid-19 than all the wars and 9/11 attack put together. They have still not locked down the country as a whole,” Patnaik said.

The five-time chief minister said at this crucial juncture one has to decide between protecting the lives of people and economic activity.

“The state cabinet which met on Thursday decided that saving the lives of our people is the top-most priority at this juncture,” Patnaik said.

Speaking about people from Odisha being stranded in various parts of the country, Patnaik said his government’s intervention for their well-being would be through the respective state governments concerned.

“Odisha, meanwhile, will take care of natives of other states stranded there.”

Agriculture to be facilitated

Though lockdown period has been extended, Patnaik said activities related to agriculture, animal husbandry and MGNREGS will be facilitated. However, social distancing norms will be followed in all spheres.

Food security, he said, was a major priority for the state and transportation of essential supplies will continue unhindered.

The chief minister said the state had significantly scaled up testing of suspected coronavirus cases and also strengthened the apparatus for the treatment of those afflicted.

He also thanked doctors from all over the country who have volunteered to offer their services through telemedicine to people locked down in their homes.