Odisha declares journalists as ‘frontline COVID-19 warriors’, announces ex-gratia

More than a dozen journalists have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in Odisha recently

By Priya Ranjan Sahu
Published: Sunday 02 May 2021
Down To Earth Hindi's Vivek Mishra covering the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar recently, that turned out to be a super spreader. As many as 165 journalists have lost their lives to COVID-19 over the past one year in India, according to a list compiled by the Network of Women in Media. Photo: Vivek Mishra / CSE

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik May 2, 2021 declared working journalists of the state as ‘Frontline COVID-19 Warriors’ and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 15,00,000 to the next of kin of a journalist who succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

Patnaik approved a proposal to this effect and said:

Working journalists are doing a great service to the state by providing seamless news feeds, making people aware of issues relating to COVID-19 during these very trying times and they are a great support for our war against COVID-19  

More than a dozen journalists have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in Odisha recently.

The decision to designate journalists as COVID-19 warriors is expected to benefit 6,944 working journalists in Odisha, who have already been covered under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojna, the state health insurance scheme for journalists. They are getting a health insurance cover of Rs 200,000 each.

Odisha meanwhile recorded the highest spike of 10,413 COVID-19 infections May 1. The Odisha government May 2 declared a 14-day lockdown from May 5-19 to break the chain of transmission and effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state. This was after the state witnessed a rapid rise in infections similar to other parts of the country.

Patnaik had said after a review meeting on COVID-19 last week:

We are in the midst of a severe crisis in the country. Many states and metro cities are witnessing a huge strain on the healthcare system. We need to be extremely cautious and alert in ensuring all measures to manage the situation in Odisha

Odisha has recorded over 0.46 million cases and 2,068 deaths since the start of the pandemic. On May 2, state health department officials said a total of 8,015 persons were infected and 14 persons had died in the state due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

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