Odisha Fights Coronavirus and Set Example for Many Other States

Odisha has been blown out with natural calamities at different point of time. Dealing and tackling natural disasters have been the built capacity of all the governments throughout the history of the state.

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COVID-19 Testing

Naveen Patnaik’s government has set an example for its disaster management strategy in the last two decades. Even international organizations like UNO has praised the current government for its befitting action plan to combat natural calamities. When Fani, a destructive cyclonic storm, battered the coast of Odisha in May 2019, the state authorities showed exemplary readiness to tame it by evacuating 1.2 million vulnerable citizens to safer areas.

Back then, the state got an applaud from the national and international sources for its effective handling of Fani. Since then, Odisha has been proactive in tackling disasters. Now, the war Odisha is fighting against Novel Coronavirus disease is remarkable in an outstanding show of strength and determination.

Odisha was vigilant ofCoronavirus outbreak. It was the first state to enforce a full lockdown of major cities on 12th March, and then the entire state on 24th March, a day before the declaration of the national lockdown.Currently, not only this but Odisha has also become the country’s first state to extend the lockdown to 30th April.

Once a neglected state in the country has now become the benchmark for others to fight with Novel Coronavirus. From daily briefings at 4:30 pm by Chief Spokesperson Subroto Bagchi to setting up two exclusive COVID hospitals with a combined capacity of 1,000, that too in a time of a week, Odisha is remarkably fighting the Coronavirus outbreak.

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The state has 74 Coronavirus positive cases as of 21 April, which includes 24 recoveries and one death, reported the state health and family welfare department.

In defeating the Coronavirus pandemic, Odisha has a handful of first credits. The primary and bold steps taken by the Odisha government includes punishment for not wearing a mask in public—for the first three occasions with a fine of INR 200, and then with INR 500.

The state even enacted an order to increase the penal provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 to make punishable any violation of the code notified under the act by either a two-year jail term or a fine of INR10,000.

Further, establishing a hotspot zone, providing medical services at the doorstep, making masks compulsory for people travelling in public and even announcing a grant worth INR 54 lakhs to feed stray animals are the steps taken by Odisha.

Keeping in view the safety of students, the state government has announced the closure of schools and colleges till 17th June.

Moreover, the state government has approved 100,000 rapid test kits to be procured. Besides, the swab testing capability of the Regional Medical & Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar and the training of doctors and healthcare professionals for the treatment of patients contaminated with COVID is being ramped up.

The government was first to introduce a portal: https://covid19.odisha.gov.in for self-declaration of people who came back from the foreign tour after 4th March and incentivized it with INR15,000. The government even started a helpline (104) for them as well as the general public.

Social Distancing: Bhubaneswar Market

The noteworthy thing is that Odisha announced the first positive case of novel Coronavirus on 16th March but much before that it had started preparing for the worst possible situations.

Other states in India are struggling to run essential services and mark the presence of staff in government offices. Still, Odisha countered the situation by incentivizing the work across several departments. It announced that it would release four months’ advance salaries for government people working in the health sector and also for the doctors, and paramedical staff. The wages would be paid in April, said the government.

The government is actively bombarding all its handles on social media to disseminate COVID-19 alerts and appeals. The government has mobilized all of its resources to curb the COVID-19 spread.

The Chief Secretary of Odisha government, Shri Asit Kumar Tripathi, announced that the Panchayats are provided INR 5 lakh each by The Panchayati Raj and the drinking water department as a measure to improve the quarantine facilities in the rural areas.

Also, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged other states to assist people from Odisha stranded in multiple locations across India and has promised to bear all the necessary cost for food, accommodation and security for all its people stranded anywhere in India. Even two unique helpline numbers were launched for the same purpose. The CM in his full capacity has also assured to help all the people of other states who are stuck in Odisha.

Hon’ble CM of Odisha even announced a mandatory quarantine of 14 days in respective Panchayats for people of Odisha who returned after the lockdown from other states. Their food, accommodation, medicine and healthcare will be taken care of by the Odisha State Government, free of cost. Also, post successful quarantine period the step has been incentivized by INR2,000.

On 15th April, an exclusive COVID-19 hospital with 200-bed capacity became operational in Subarnapur district of Odisha, totalling the state to have 24 COVID-19 hospitals across 21 districts. Further reviewing the COVID19 situation, under the direction of CM Naveen Patnaik 36 COVID hospitals with a combined bed capacity of 6,000 has been set up in every district of Odisha by 20th April.

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In the view of Odisha government being proactive in tackling Coronavirus, Member of Parliament from BJD, Dr Amar Patnaik, told Delhi Post:

‘Odisha is the first state to recognize that Coronavirus will be a big problem, and therefore, we made 40 per cent Odisha under lockdown and realized that social distancing is the essential tool to arrest the growth of this virus. Despite vast numbers of samples being tested daily, the number of positive cases is deficient in Odisha as compared to other states. Usage of masks and proper handwashing techniques were communicated to every household with the help of SHGs within three days, and it has resulted in the least number of positive cases from the rural parts of Odisha. The SHGs have done a commendable job in creating awareness in villages. Recognizing the problem very early and taking prompt action in everything has helped us to fight COVID very well. The separation of virus treating hospitals from the regular hospitals has also contributed to contain the spread of the virus. Also, we are taking care of guest workers by giving them food accommodation, so that they don’t come outside.

For the people of Odisha, my message is that there is no medicine for Coronavirus, and the only vaccination is social distancing. If we remain united to defeat this virus, then we must observe the preventive measures like washing hands, social distancing, and at the same time, take care of the community and prevent the spread of the disease. Whatever steps the government is taking, observe it and take care of anybody who is in need, who is in despair, who needs food. Even though the government is doing everything possible for the state, at this time, we should put pressure on ourselves that how can we contribute in defeating the virus rather than expecting everything from the government’.

The so-called poor state, like in all past natural calamities, is making sure not to lose lives to COVID-19. A state that tests 1,500 samples a day with one of the lowest positive cases in the country, and despite just one death, also the lowest in the country.

Odisha led by CM Naveen Patnaik pioneered India’s COVID-19 fight back. It is the first state to provide an online pass to come out of the home during the lockdown to avail essential commodities. Also, the only state to have started a telemedicine helpline. The only state to have allotted special fund to feed stray animals, PETA awarded CM for this effort. Providing sufficient food, water, shelter and other essential services to the guest workers in the state. Moreover, it is the only state to involve Women SHGs directly in pandemic management. A Special Cell for Women, Odisha has a step in to support and help women facing domestic violence during the lockdown.