To Unlock Or Not? Odisha Govt To Decide After COVID Data Analysis
Bhubaneswar: Will Odisha see lockdown 4.0 after June 17? Speculation is rife that the state government will initiate the unlock process in a phased manner in districts with test positivity rate (TPR) below 5 per cent. It is likely to take a decision in this regard on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Speaking to mediapersons, Director of Health Services Bijay Mohapatra said the government will take a decision about unlock at a proper time. “The state government is analysing the last 15-day data on COVID-19 received from 30 districts. Based on this, the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) will issue fresh guidelines in a couple of days,” he said.
Mohapatra said the pressure on hospitals is also decreasing with patients recovering from the infection. “Enough beds are available now. 56 per cent ICU beds are occupied and general beds utilisation has also come down,” he added.
Some districts in the state meet the criteria suggested by experts for the unlocking process. AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria had earlier supported strict lockdown only in areas where the TPR is over 10 per cent or the bed occupancy is above 60 per cent.
On Tuesday, Odisha reported less than 3405 cases, the lowest since April 17. The TPR also dropped to 5.99 per cent. Fourteen districts are in the green zone with TPR of less than 5 per cent. Koraput, Kendrapada and Keonjhar have a TPR of 5.1 per cent, 5.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively. These along with five other districts are in the orange zone with Mayurbhanj and Bhadrak at 7.0 and 7.4 per cent TPR.
According to official sources, the government is likely to relax the curbs in 16 districts but continue with the 9 pm- 5 am night curfew as a precautionary measure.
However, eight districts – Khurda, Puri, Cuttack, Jajpur, Balasore, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh and Mayurbhanj – with more than 7.5 per cent TPR are unlikely to see any relaxations in lockdown.
A senior officer said there is a proposal to allow two hours relaxation for business hours in the high-burden districts. Cuttack, Khurda, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj and Balasore have been marked as Red Zone with over 2500 active cases. Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Angul have active cases between 2000-2500.
While the state government may consider some relaxations in the business hours for essential items, the lockdown and weekend shutdown is likely to remain in force till June-end.
Amid a surge in COVID cases, the lockdown was initially imposed in the state from May 5 to 14 and subsequently extended till June 1. The government then decided to extend it by 16 more days till July 17 while allowing partial relaxations in Nuapada, Gajapati and Sundargarh.