Odisha government on Thursday decided to extend lockdown until April 30 to contain the spread of COVID-19, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced after the State Cabinet held a meeting through video-conferencing.
Stating that one had to decide between protecting the lives of people and economic activity at this crucial juncture, he said the Cabinet decided that saving the lives of people was the topmost priority at this juncture.
In a video message, Mr. Patnaik announced that the State would recommend to the Central government to extend the national lockdown up to April 30.
“In addition to this, we will also request the Union government not to start airline and railway services till April 30,” said Mr. Patnaik.
The Chief Minister further announced that educational institutions in the State would remain closed till June 17.
As regards the people from Odisha who were stranded in various parts of the country, Mr. Patnaik said his government’s intervention for their well-being would be through the State governments concerned. “Odisha will take care of all the people who are stranded in Odisha.”
Activities related to agriculture, animal husbandry and MGNREGS would be facilitated during the lockdown period adhering to social distancing norms, announced Mr. Patnaik, while adding that food security of the people was a major priority of his government. “There will not be any problem in transport of goods.”
As regards containing the pandemic, Mr. Patnaik said the State government was leaving no stone unturned in scaling up testing and treatment facilities. “We propose to do one lakh rapid testing in the State at the earliest possible time.” He thanked doctors from all over the country who had volunteered to offer their services to the people showing symptoms of COVID-19 through the telemedicine helpline that was launched on Wednesday.
Observing that coronavirus was the biggest threat that the human race had faced in more than a century, Mr. Patnaik said life would not be the same ever. “All of us must understand this and face it boldly together,” he added.
News Source: The Hindu