Health

COVID-19: How Odisha is setting an example in preparedness

From lockdown to advance pension, the state is gearing up for the novel coronavirus disease outbreak 

 
By Taruka Srivastava
Published: Monday 23 March 2020
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Source: Flickr

Less than a year after cyclone Fani wreaked havoc in Odisha and claimed 64 lives, the state is gearing for another major event — the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Eastern Indian state garnered praise from the United Nations for its effective handling of Fani. This time, too, it is setting a good example.

Odisha has reported two positive COVID-19 cases so far. On March 21, it was the first state to order 70 per cent lockdown, including its capital Bhubaneshwar.

About 70 per cent of 3,200 people who returned from abroad after March 4 reside in the districts which are now under lockdown. They have been put under home quarantine. Some essential services have been exempted.

In a bid to encourage those who came back from foreign tour after March 4, the government incentivised self-declaration with Rs 15,000. It launched a portal – https://covid19.odisha.gov.in – for the same.

More than 1,300 have registered on the portal so far.

The government also introduced a helpline (104) for them as well as the general public.

Meanwhile, government officials are setting an exemplary example too. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took to Twitter to request people for self-disclosure. He cited example of his own sister, whom he encouraged to get tested after she returned from the United States.

 Puri Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb and his family, too, registered online on the COVID-19 portal.

“We have to fight to avoid reaching stage-3 of the pandemic. We have two positive cases, but the good news is they are stable. All restaurants, bars, coffee shops, canteens and eateries where large number of people gather have been shut until further orders,” said Asit Tripathy, chief secretary, Odisha.

Tripathy added that congregation of more than seven people has been banned in any public place. Similar regulations are in place for temples, mosques and churches.

The government is constantly bombarding all its social media handles to disseminate updates and appeals on COVID-19 . The government has mobilised all its resources to contain the spread of the COVID-19.

“We have further decided to substantially activate and expand the helpline. Till date, the health department collected 32 samples, out of which 31 were found negative. Isolation facilities have been organised in all district hospitals as well as medical college hospitals. About 540 isolation beds have been readied,” Tripathy said.

He added that to expedite quarantine facilities in rural areas, panchayats have been provided Rs 5 lakh each by the Panchayati Raj and drinking water department. Special awareness meetings were organised across the state March 19, 20 and 21.

The government will further pay advance social pension of four months to beneficiaries.

The advance allowance will be paid in March for April, May, June, July and will benefit around 28 lakh beneficiaries, including elderly persons, widows and physically challenged persons under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana. It will further help beneficiaries under National Social Assistance Programme. 

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