At least 24 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Odisha taking state tally of confirmed cases close to 300 as it currently at 294, the Health and Family Welfare department informed. Of the 24 fresh COVID-19 cases, Ganjam district reported 18, while 3 were registered in Mayurbhanj while one each in Nayagarh, Bhadrak and Sundergarh.
Nayagarh district reported its first novel coronavirus case when a 40-year-old Surat returnee tested positive to the disease. With this, the COVID-19 has now spread to19 of the 30 districts of Odisha. At present, there are 224 active cases in the state and 68 people have recovered. Two people from Bhubaneswar have succumbed to the disease, an official said adding that 343 persons are in hospital isolation.
The state health department had on Friday conducted 3,348 tests for COVID-19, he said, adding that Odisha has so far tested 56,322 samples.
As per an analysis by the department, 246 of the state's total 294 cases have been reported from five districts of Ganjam, Jajpur, Khurda, Balasore and Bhadrak.
Meanwhile, the Odisha government said it is proper to bring back Odias, mostly migrant workers, stranded in other states before a possible "mahasankraman" (mass infection) of Covid-19 hits India after nationwide lockdown is lifted. Odisha COVID-19 spokesperson Subroto Bagchi justified the state's decision to facilitate the return of the people stranded in different parts of the country due to lockdown since March 25.
Noting that some people in the state have reservations about the government's decision to bring back the migrant workers from highly infected states which led to a surge in the number of COVID cases in Odisha, Bagchi said: "It is absolutely right from legal, humanitarian, moral, realistic and scientific basis. Is it not better to bring back the Odias before a mahasankraman strikes the country in June or July?"
"It is a fact that the returnees are now adding to the number of positive cases in the state. But all the cases came from quarantine centres where the returnees are kept. It is a good sign that positive cases are coming from the quarantine centres and not from the community," Bagchi said.
Apart from migrant workers, the Covid spokesperson said, students, professionals, pilgrims and patients, are also stranded in different places.
(With inputs from PTI)