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Odisha CM demands lockdown extension during meeting with PM Modi

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday pitched for extending the national lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus for another month and demanded more testing centres.

Patnaik’s proposal came during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with chief ministers.

Odisha health minister Naba Das said like several CMs who participated in the video conference, Patnaik also demanded extension of the lockdown that is scheduled to end on May 3.

“Odisha has the coronavirus crisis in control, when compared to other state’s population and the number of tests performed,” Das said, referring to 25,103 tests in a month-and-a-half and 110 COVID-19 cases.

Of the 110 who tested positive for COVID-19 in Odisha, 37 have recovered while one person who also had co-morbidity factors, died.

Das said all the 30 districts of Odisha are equipped to handle the return of over five lakh migrants from different states.

“During today’s meeting we stressed on the safe passage of Odia migrants stuck in other states and requested other states to test the migrants and give a clearance certificate before their return,” he said. Odisha has been readying infrastructure in over 7,000 gram panchayats

Odisha was the first state to declare lockdown all over the state on March 24 after predicting a doomsday-like scenario of 36,000 cases of coronavirus in the state by May-end if people did not remain in their homes.

In the last two weeks, apart from Sundargarh, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak and Koraput districts, none of the other 26 districts have reported a single case. Khurda district which includes the capital city of Bhubaneswar is the only hotspot district in the state though no new cases have been reported from there in the last 12 days.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and Bhubaneswar police commissionerate said as the capital city is in a red zone with 46 cases, all the norms of lockdown will continue.

The health minister said that a clear guideline for bringing stranded Odia migrants is likely to come up by April 30.

Meanwhile, Patnaik announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 15 lakh to the next of kin of any working journalist who dies due to COVID-19.

In another development, a 32-year-old doctor posted at the Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), a dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Bhubaneswar, died Monday. He had a day off after seven days and died of some other medical complications. He had tested negative for COVID-19, officials said.

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