Naveen Patnaik
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Image credit - Twitter

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday announced a week-long “near total lockdown” in five districts of the state along with 8 towns.

A media report quoted a government spokesman as saying that Odisha has become the first state in India to lock down 40 per cent of the state.

In the lockdown, the districts in the state have been focused where more than 70 per cent of foreign travellers have returned.

While addressing the citizens at Odia, Odisha chief minister Patnaik said in a video address, “In the last two months, the world has changed.”

“Politics and economics have been left behind as a health issue has been a global concern of enormous proportions”.

Patnaik said: “Coronavirus has reached India. The number of affected (patients) is increasing. This virus has come from outside and does not have a specific treatment. Only awareness can stop the spread of this virus.”

Also read: Coronavirus cases in India rise to 283

In the video Patnaik appealed: “Please stay at home so that you can protect yourself and your own family. Do not allow the virus to enter your home.”

“This strategy has been successfully used against coronavirus by China’s Wuhan province.”

“We have to embrace this strategy by confining ourselves to our homes and stepping out for essential activities only,” said Patnaik.

In the video, Patnaik further said, “The coming week is critical. In the last few days, over 3,000 people have returned to Odisha from abroad.”

He also said 70% of these people belong to districts such as Khurda, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada and Anugul.

He announced: “In the first phase, these five districts – including its towns and villages- along with (towns) Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Baleswar, Puri, Rourkela, Bhadrak, Jajpur Town, and Jajpur will be under near total lockdown from 7 am on March 22 to 9 pm on March 29”.

The chief minister said bus, train and air service will remain operational and the grocery stores, vegetable markets, meat, poultry and medicine shops will also be open.

“Hospitals, bank ATMs, municipality services, police, fire, ODRAF (Odisha Disaster rapid Action Force), petrol pumps, water, and electricity services will be provided. Administrative offices will also remain open,” he added.

The Odisha chief minister further said he has ordered the state police to take “stringent action against those who violate these restrictions in the interest of people”.

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