Bhubaneswar: Odisha will draft a new strategy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, as the days ahead are set to get more challenging with the restoration of train and flight services, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Tuesday.
Patnaik, during a review meet on the COVID-19 situation, said the administration will draw lessons from its experiences since March to frame the new strategy.
A total of 1,517 coronavirus cases have been reported in Odisha so far. Seven people have succumbed to the disease.
“With flight and train services having been restored, the next 15 to 30 days will be challenging, but I am sure we will be able to handle it all in a professional manner,” Patnaik said.
Over the past two months, the state has learnt a lesson or two about the nature of the deadly virus and how it could be contained, he noted.
Those with pre-existing ailment and the elderly need extra care, Patnaik said.
“We have to re-strategise our response based on these lessons to be able to defeat the menace, and restore normalcy. I suggest that a campaign be conducted over the fortnight to further raise awareness.
“With repeated hand-washing and strict adherence to social distancing norms, we should be able to contain the spread of COVID-19. One also has to remember social distancing is not social boycotting. Awareness creation coupled with strict action is needed. This would be the target for the week,” the chief minister asserted.
Insisting that COVID-19 tests has to carried out “smartly” to avoid contamination, he said Odisha is “one of the leading states when it came to timely sample examination”, and that his government had the wherewithal to set up decentralised facilities in its every corner.
“The state, while following ICMR recommendations for isolating people, has also empowered district collectors to extend institutional quarantine on a need-based manner,” Patnaik explained.
Noting that the temporary medical centres in villages are doing a great job in containing the spread of the virus, Patnaik said 95 per cent of Odisha’s positive cases have been reported from quarantine centres.
“This shows the robustness of our system and the efforts put in by sarpanches (village heads), people’s representatives and the entire government machinery, cutting across departments. I appreciate each one of you for working day and night to fight COVID,” he said.
Patnaik also appreciated the “humane work” done by police to ensure “zero walking inside Odisha” by migrant workers who have arrived in the state or passed through it.
“Good job done,” he said.
More than three lakh people have returned to the state in Shramik Special trains and buses in a span of just 24 days, Patnaik said.
Talking about the damage caused by cyclone ‘Amphan’, which rolled past Odisha on May 20, he said the state took proactive measures to restore power and re-establish road connectivity in two days.
“People of Odisha have sacrificed so much in all these months and cooperated completely with the government. Their sacrifice inspires us to go the extra mile in discharging our duties,” Patnaik said.