In view of the coronavirus outbreak, the state government ordered the shutting of all shopping malls in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack till March 31 as a precautionary measure.
The first confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Odisha was reported on Monday after a researcher who recently returned from Italy tested positive for it, a senior official said. The 33-year-old man is being treated at Capital Hospital here, the official said. “His condition is stable and he is not showing any other complications,” said Subroto Bagchi, the state government’s chief spokesperson on COVID-19.
The patient reached Delhi from Italy on March 6 and travelled to Bhubaneswar by train on March 12. He consulted a doctor on March 13, complaining of fever and headache, Bagchi told reporters. “The man then went to Capital Hospital on March 14 where he was admitted to the isolation ward. His blood and swab samples were sent for medical examination and tests confirmed he is infected with novel coronavirus,” Bagchi said.
As the man travelled by train from Delhi to Bhubaneswar, the state government launched a “contact tracing exercise”, Bagchi, also the chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority, said. Efforts are on to trace all the people who are suspected to have come in contact with him, the official said.
His family members have been quarantined and kept under observation. Data of all those people who travelled with the researcher on the train is being collected so that they can be tracked and quarantined too, Bagchi said. He advised mediapersons against revealing the identities of the infected person and his family members and rushing to the hospital for sound bytes, thus affecting his treatment and risking getting infected.
In view of the coronavirus outbreak, the state government ordered the shutting of all shopping malls in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack till March 31 as a precautionary measure. “As per Section 35 of the Odisha Urban Police Act, Commissioner of Police has ordered all Malls in the twin Cities of Bhubaneswar-Cuttack to remain closed till 31 March 2020. The order will come into effect from 16 March 2020,” the Commissionerate Police tweeted.
Authorities of Ganjam, Khurda, Gajapati and Jharsuguda districts have cancelled the leaves of state government employees to deal with the situation arising out of the pandemic. The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration has imposed restrictions for servitors and devotees at the 12th century shrine in Puri.
The servitors will have to wear masks while performing rituals inside the temple, wash hands frequently, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as part of the precautionary measures, SJTA chief administrator Krishan Kumar said.
The devotees will have to submit self-declaration forms before entering the temple premises, he said. “They will have to stand in a queue for entering the shrine and a gap of at least 2 metres has to be maintained between devotees,” Kumar said.
Restrictions have also been imposed on touching of Aruna Stambha, Garuda Stambha and the idols in the temple, he said. Vehicles proceeding to Puri are also being checked and the district administration has urged people to avoid visiting the seaside pilgrim town unless it is very essential, officials said.
To avoid large gatherings, tourist and pilgrim sites such as Sun Temple at Konark, Shanti Stupa at Dhauli and Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves in Bhubaneswar will remain out of bounds for visitors till further orders, they said.
People have also been advised against visiting the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar in large numbers, the officials said.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been clamped in the entire Ganjam district to prevent large gatherings, especially during the Chaitra Parva at Tara Tarini shrine in Purushottampur, District Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said. The prohibitory orders will be in force till further orders, Kulange added.