Odisha Govt To Announce New Unlock Guideline This Afternoon; Easing Of Curbs Unlikely In Twin Cities
Bhubaneswar: With the ongoing lockdown slated to end at 5 am on Friday, the Odisha government is likely to announce further relaxation in a new set of unlocking guidelines for another 15 days on Thursday.
Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra may announce the future action plan for COVID management at 2.30 pm, an official spokesperson informed.
According to official sources, the announcement to further ease the curbs will be taken on the basis of infection rate and active cases. Union Health Secretary Ajay Bhalla’s letter warning state governments on the coronavirus R factor growing due to unlock and directing them to strictly implement COVID norms to check the spread of the virus will also influence the decision.
Higher R (reproduction) factor would mean faster transmission with each infected person spreading the disease to a fellow human at a higher rate.
Odisha has been witnessing a drop in daily caseload with the test positivity rate (TPR) hovering around 3 per cent for the last few days. Five more districts are likely to be added to the current 20 Category A districts, where TPR has dropped below 5 per cent.
However, Khurda, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore and Bhadrak continue to report a higher infection rate. Khurda and Cuttack have over 4000 and 3000 active cases respectively.
These coastal districts are likely to continue in Category B and only see relaxations in the business hours.
The high infection rate may also delay the easing of curbs in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. On Wednesday, DMET CBK Mohanty had said that the government will initiate special measures to bring down the infection rate in these two cities, where cases are rising because of the floating population.
There could be some changes in the duration of the night curfew and gyms are likely to be allowed to operate, sources said.
A senior official said that schools and religious institutions, besides swimming pools and cinema halls, will remain closed till August 1.
The cap on weddings (25) and funerals (20) is also likely to be increased. Intrastate and city bus services will be allowed to resume in Odisha, the sources added.