The Odisha government on Sunday extended the lockdown across the state for another 16-days till June 17 to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The ongoing lockdown that started from May 5 has been extended for the second time. It was scheduled to end at 5am on June 1. The weekend shutdown will remain in force on Saturday and Sunday. The state has so far reported 7,56,684 Covid cases and 2,719 deaths. Currently, the state has 95,266 active cases of Covid-19.
Official sources said the state government extended the lockdown to avoid a rush in the market during the upcoming Raja festival, one of the most important festivals of the state. Sabitri, another big festival, is also coming up. While the three-day Raja festival begins on June 14, the Sabitri festival falls on June 10.
Meanwhile, the state government has claimed that the Covid-19 cases have started declining because of the lockdown. “During the 25 days of lock down, we got good results. The positivity rate has come down from 25 per cent to 15 per cent. We want to bring it down to 10 per cent. For this reason, lockdown is needed,” said chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra.ADVERTISING
Mohapatra said: “The state is facing twin challenges — the Covid pandemic and restoration work in the cyclone hit areas. Thousands of government employees are deployed in these areas for the restoration work. There is still a threat of Covid spread in these areas. The Covid cases are still high in the coastal belts including Khurda, Cuttack, Angul and other districts. Taking all these into consideration, we don’t want any laxity and decided to go for the extension of lockdown.”
Grocery and food shops in the state will remain open from 7am to 11am during the lockdown. But the grocery and food shops will remain open from 7am to 1pm in three districts — Nuapada, Sundergarh and Gajapati — as the number of corona cases have come down below 10 per cent.
“Cases reached the peak on May 22 with detection of a record 12,852 positive cases. Now the cases are showing a downward trend.,” said P.K. Mohapatra, additional chief secretary in charge of health and family welfare department.