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Odisha mandates COVID-19 tests, 14-day quarantine for Kumbh Mela returnees

The ongoing Kumbh Mela has been at the centre of controversy amid fears that it could be a superspreader event, with lakhs of devotees attending it as the second wave of the coronavirus surges uncontrollably. 

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: April 18, 2021 6:49 IST
odisha coronavirus
Image Source : PTI

Odisha mandates COVID-19 tests, 14-day quarantine for Kumbh Mela returnees

The Odisha government on Saturday said all returnees from the Kumbh Mela will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, apart from RT-PCR tests before setting foot in the state, in an effort to rein in the spread of COVID-19. The quarantine can be completed at home or temporary medical camps (TMC), Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said in an order. Jena said the list of people, who got themselves registered with the Uttarakhand government for participating in Kumbh Mela, has been shared with collectors and municipal commissioners to ascertain their location and travel plans.

"All such persons must be personally tracked, their health condition monitored. They must be compulsorily RT-PCR tested," the order said.

ASHA and Anganwadi Workers will regularly visit the symptomatic returnees at home or TMCs to monitor their health conditions, it added.

The ongoing Kumbh Mela has been at the centre of controversy amid fears that it could be a super spreader event, with lakhs of devotees attending it as the second wave of the coronavirus surges uncontrollably. 

Weekend shutdown in 10 districts, night curfew in all towns

The Odisha government Saturday imposed a weekend shutdown in 10 districts bordering Chhattisgarh and implemented a night curfew in all urban areas across the state in a bid to check the spread of COVID-19. The coastal state has registered as many as 22,822 fresh cases in 17 days. The shutdown was imposed in the districts of Sundergarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Nabarangpur, Koraput and Malkangiri all bordering Chhattisgarh, where the number of active cases stood at 1,24,303 on Saturday.

Four districts Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Nuapada and Khurda district were classified as 'red zones'. Normal life was severely affected in the 10 districts as all business establishments and educational institutions were shut, and road communication crippled, officials said.

No restriction was imposed on industries, which continued operations with adherence to safety protocols, and essential services, said Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena.

"All industries and related activities will continue without any restriction during the night curfew and weekend shutdown, following COVID-19 guidelines," Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra said in a statement.

The night curfew has been implemented both in urban and rural areas of the region bordering Chhattisgarh, an official said.

The duration of the curfew in the urban areas of the 10 districts is 6 pm to 5 am and 9 pm to 5 am in rural areas.

Rourkela SP MK Bhamoo said legal action will be taken against violators of the pandemic norms.

According to an earlier announcement, Jena said night curfew has been imposed in urban areas of all the 20 other districts from Saturday, including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, from 9 pm to 5 am.

A Shree Jagannath Temple Administration official said devotees are urged to vacate the temple premises by 8 pm.

Commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) PC Chaudhury said people should not engage in panic buying as the administration has made arrangements for adequate stock.

A top police officer said prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in order to ensure that people abide by the norms of the night curfew.

Taking to Twitter, the Odisha Police said, "On the last day of the special Covid enforcement drive, police acted against 9,032 violators of mask usage and social distancing rules and collected a fine of Rs 27,40,040 in the last 24 hours."

Meanwhile, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has called upon the state government to not opt for lockdown as it would have an adverse impact on the economy. 

(With inputs from PTI)

Also Read | Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik urges PM Modi to allow sale of COVID-19 vaccines in open market

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