By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, April 06, 2021: The Odisha government on Tuesday directed its police administration to conduct a 10-day drive for strict enforcement of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Chairing a high-level meeting here, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed concerns over resurgence in COVID-19 virus, which was increasingly infecting people in Odisha in recent weeks.

“We have been able to successfully control the first wave of COVID-19 in spite of a challenging situation when the nature of the virus was unknown. We are now battle hardened and I am sure we will be able to successfully tackle this resurgence of the virus infection,” said Mr. Patnaik.

“We have to enforce the COVID-19 safety protocols strictly to slow down the spread of the virus. Director General of Police is directed to deploy the police personnel in large numbers across the State in a 10-day drive to strictly enforce the COVID-19 safety protocols as notified,” the CM said while interacting with top officials.

Before the fresh direction came, Odisha police had already stepped-up enforcement. “From morning of Monday to morning of Tuesday, one case has been registered, 21 people arrested, 900 vehicles seized and fines to the tune of Rs 27,64,000 has been collected for violation of COVID-19 guidelines,” said the State police.

Mr. Patnaik said, “The new wave of COVID-19 spread seemed to be more infectious and might create a devastating situation, if we do not take it seriously. We will go for strict enforcement of COVID norms at institutional and individual level”

Observing that the virus spread seemed to be mainly concentrated in the districts adjoining the Chhattisgarh border, he said, “I would urge the Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) and senior officials to visit the western Odisha districts with high incidence of the COVID-19 positive cases and conduct on-ground assessment and take suitable urgent action.”

The CM also directed the health department to immediately redeploy doctors, paramedics, and laboratory technicians to western Odisha districts to strengthen the manpower required to fight the virus.

According to a high-level review meeting, there should be sufficient hospital capacity to take care of the increasing cases. Emphasis has been laid on adequate ambulances with oxygen supply in the highly affected areas, proper monitoring systems and addressing emergency calls.

Collectors have been asked to involve all sections of the society including the panchayati raj institution members, Mission Shakti groups, and ensure awareness and enforcement.

Odisha on Tuesday reported 588 new positive cases. The highest number of 105 persons tested positive in Khordha, followed by 84 in Sundargarh. Kalahandi and Jharsuguda reported 64 and 31 fresh cases respectively.

Total cases now jumped to 3,43,856 cases in Odisha while 1,922 lost their lives to the disease. After recovery of 3,38,150, total active cases stood at 3,731. Meanwhile, Puri district administration has announced to restrict entry of tourists from five high-risk States to pilgrimage town. Tourists from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh would be allowed only with very recent RT-PCR negative report, said Samarth Verma, Puri district collector.

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