Odisha has become the first state to extend the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak till April 30, 2020. The lockdown, mandated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was initially for 21 days and was to end on April 14. Schools in the state will remain closed till June 17.
“The state cabinet, which met today, decided that saving the lives of our people is the top most priority at this juncture,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement. “We have decided to extend the lockdown till April 30. We will recommend to the Government of India to extend the national lockdown (up to the same time period).”
“I know it involves a lot of sacrifice, hardship and uncertainty but this is the only way to face this crisis… At this crucial juncture one has to decide between protecting lives of people and economic activity,” he added.
The state has reported 42 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths so far. It has tested at least 2,441 samples for COVID-19.
On March 21, Patnaik had announced a week-long “near total lockdown” of five districts along with eight towns to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus — the first government to lock down 40 per cent of the state. Restrictions were placed in districts where more than 70 per cent of foreign travellers had returned.
— Sampad Patnaik (@sampad_patnaik) April 9, 2020
On Thursday, the state government also appeal to the Centre to extend the nationwide lockdown till the end of the month, and continue the suspension on airline and railway operations. “We will request the Union Government not to start airline and railway services till April 30,” Patnaik said.
Patnaik said the state would conduct one lakh rapid tests at the “earliest possible time” to help contain the disease. “We are leaving no stone unturned in scaling up COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities,” he said.
Patnaik assured that there would be no problems in transportation of essential goods.
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