Odisha makes COVID-19 negative report mandatory for entering State
Bhubaneswar: Considering resurgence in COVID cases, Odisha Government on Thursday made it mandatory for people coming to the State by train, bus, aeroplane, waterways or in private vehicles to produce RT-PCR negative report obtained within 72 hours of the entry or the final vaccination certificate. This was part of the State Government’s fresh guideline issued by the Chief Secretary following a spike in COVID-l9 positive cases in some districts.
“The people coming without such a report shall have to undergo 7-day mandatory Home/ Institutional quarantine. This will be effective from April 12 (Monday),” Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Jena said quoting the order.
The order said district magistrates-cum-collectors of Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Malkangiri, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Balasore are authorised to set up and operationalise temporary medical centres/cluster temporary medical centres as per need for giving institutional quarantine facilities to those coming from other States.
Expenditure for opening and running of such facilities shall be borne by the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF), the order said. This apart, the Government also suspended all public transport from Odisha to Chhattisgarh and vice versa from April 10 till April 30, 2021.
The Transport Commissioner shall issue appropriate orders and the department, with the help of State police and under active guidance of district collectors, will set up border check points (BCPs) at strategic locations/border entry points to manage entry of incoming persons/vehicles.
Persons coming through the BCPs will have to produce final vaccination certificate/RT-PCR negative report obtained within 72 Hours prior to the entry to Odisha or else they will be put in home/institutional quarantine for 7 days, he said.
This apart, the incoming persons shall have to give an undertaking to this effect and submit form containing name of the person, from where they are coming, the address of destination, mobile number and alternative contact number.
All industries/educational institutions/commercial establishments will ensure implementation of all COVID appropriate behaviour/protocols and set up their own isolation facilities like COVID Care Centres (CCCs)/COVID Care Homes (CCHs) for COVID positive persons found in their establishments.
All such institutions will identify COVID compliance officers among their senior staff, who shall ensure the implementation of COVID compliance guidelines/protocols within their premises and submit daily reports to the collector/municipal commissioner.
If any violation is observed in complying with the COVID-19 appropriate behavior and protocols, they will be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Regulations issued besides legal action under sections of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable, the order said.
All collectors/municipal commissioners will have regular meetings with the industries/educational institutions/commercial establishments within their jurisdiction to sensitise them to follow COVID appropriate behavior. They have to also ensure strict adherence of COVID safety protocols such as wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and provision of thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitiser. All collectors/superintendents of police/ all municipal commissioners/commissioner of police, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack are also directed to ensure the implementation of this guideline. “Any person found violating this order shall be punished under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws,” the order said.
Meanwhile, Odisha Government on Thursday requested Railways to cancel all passenger trains coming from Chhattisgarh to Odisha from April 10 until further advice. Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, in a letter to Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma, stated that passenger trains, including local and Mail/Express, coming from Chhattisgarh to Odisha, may be cancelled with effect from April 10, 2021, till further advice.
The Chief Secretary also stated that the Railways must ensure that all passengers travelling to Odisha, from anywhere by train, must have an RT-PCR negative test report of maximum 72 hours before the start of journey or a second dose vaccination certificate. This restriction will come into force from the boarding date of April 10.
Though the coronavirus situation is not alarming in Odisha, the Chief Secretary said the cross border movements of people are impacting COVID situation adversely in almost all the border districts of Odisha. He pointed out that there has been spike in cases in the States like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattishgarh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh and others.
Covid enforcement drive
Odisha police sources said on the first day of the special Covid enforcement drive against the Covid violators, the police acted against 9,400 violators of mask usage and social distancing rules and collected a fine of Rs 25.07 lakh in the past 24 hours in the State. DGP office sources said about 136 platoon forces have been engaged in the entire State to intensify Covid enforcement measures.
Meanwhile, Institute of Life Sciences Director Ajay Parida said the situation in Odisha might worsen and become similar to Chhattisgarh if people in the State continue to violate Covid protocols and guidelines. He said the new strain of the virus is more contagious than the previous one and is spreading rapidly which is a matter of concern. Dr Parida said, “We are examining the new strain and it is difficult to say when the new strain of the Covid virus will recede.”
Ban orders at Baruni Ghat
A report from Jajpur said the district administration, in view of the resurgence in Covid cases, on Thursday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC at Baruni Ghat to avoid mass gathering for Baruni Snana festival on Friday. Anticipating the presence of a large number of people from across the district, the authority promulgated prohibitory orders at Baruni Ghat, Dasvamedha Ghat, Baruni Mela Padia and its adjacent areas to contain the spread of the virus.
BMC seals SBI main branch for 96 hours
In another development, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday sealed the main branch of State Bank of India after some more staff of the bank tested Covid positive. The bank has been sealed for a period of 96 hours from April 8 to 11 to contain the spread of the virus, a notification issued by the BMC said. The bank was earlier sealed for two days after some staff tested Covid positive.