According to a government spokesperson, Odisha is the first state in the country to lock down 40 per cent of the state- focusing on districts where more than 70 percent of foreign travellers have returned.
Addressing citizens in Odia, 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”.
“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”, Patnaik continued.
“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”, Patnaik appealed in the video.
“The coming week is critical. In the last few days, over 3,000 people have returned to Odisha from abroad. 70% of these people belong to (districts such as ) Khurda, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapada and Anugul”, he said, announcing, “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 March 22 0700 hours to March 29 2100 hours”.
Listing the exemptions under “near total lockdown”, he said, “Bus, train and air service will remain operational. Grocery stores, vegetable markets, meat, poultry and medicine shops will 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”.
“I have ordered (state) police to take stringent action against those who violate these restrictions in the interest of people”, Patnaik warned.