COVID-19: Odisha becomes first state to extend lockdown

Approximately 3.1 million families receive food grains from 12,556 fair price shops

By Priya Ranjan Sahu
Published: Thursday 09 April 2020
People of a village in Odisha's Rayagada district collect food grains under the PDS Photo: Priya Ranjan Sahu__

Odisha, on April 9, 2020, became the first state in India to extend the lockdown till April 30, after two more novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases were reported from the state.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requested the Union government to extend the lockdown and said train and air services should not begin till April 30 either.

“This pandemic is the biggest threat the human race has faced in more than a century. Life will not be the same ever again. All of us must understand this and face it boldly together,” Patnaik said.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the state reached 44, after a 69-year-old man from Medinipur, West Bengal was admitted to a private hospital in capital Bhubaneswar and a 51-year-old woman from Dhenkanal district, were found to be infected by the virus (SARS-CoV-2).

The cases include 33 from Bhubaneswar, three from Bhadrak and one each from Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Kendrapara and Puri.

Approximately 91 people were in isolation in different hospitals across the state.

A total of 2,841 samples from across the state were tested so far. The state recorded its first death on April 6.

Approximately 33 million beneficiaries — covered under different food security schemes in Odisha — were provided 5.65 lakh tonnes of rice and wheat in advance for the months of April, May and June, as a food security measure amid the lockdown.

More than 1.8 million families were given Rs 1,000, within a total allocation of Rs 184.75 crore, said Subroto Bagchi, Odisha’s chief spokesperson for COVID-19, on April 8, 2020.

More than 36,000 beneficiaries were added in the process, he said.

Approximately 3.1 million families were provided food grains from 12,556 fair price shops through the state’s public distribution system, while maintaining strict social distancing guidelines, according to Bagchi.

A package of Rs 2,200 crore to ensure food and financial security for the poor and marginalised was announced by Patnaik on March 27.

The state government also arranged for the food and accommodation of around 65,000 migrant workers through 1,948 camps, as part of the programme.

The government also coined the word ‘guest workers’, as a mark of respect for the stranded migrant workers from other states.

Over 85,000 migrants from Odisha, who worked in other states, returned home before the lockdown was imposed in the state.

Thousands of migrants from Odisha are still stranded in other states. The state government, several non-profits and social workers are coordinating with the respective states to arrange food and shelter for them.

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