Conduct COVID-19 tests on West Bengal returnees: Odisha NHM asks Khurda district officials

Bhubaneswar, Apr 29 (PTI) The National Health Mission, Odisha has asked the district administration of Khurda, where 47 COVID-19 cases have been reported till Wednesday, to conduct coronavirus tests on people who had recently visited West Bengal, a senior official said.

Odisha NHM director Shalini Pandit in a letter to the Khurda district collector S K Rout said that the persons who travelled to West Bengal should be traced, home quarantined and their samples collected for testing.

A list of the persons who had visited the neighbouring state in the last few weeks during the ongoing lockdown was also attached to the letter.

At least 250 people in the district were found to have travelled to West Bengal during the lockdown period, officials said.

Of the 250 people, about 140 people reside in Bhubaneswar.

The list included the names of almost all areas under the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation jurisdiction from where the people had travelled to West Bengal.

Of the total 122 COVID-19 cases reported in the state so far, 47 were detected from Khurda district, of which Bhubaneswar is a part.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Wednesday, of the 122 COVID-19 patients in the state, 50 persons had recently returned from West Bengal.

'Looking after West Bengal returnees has also become a major challenge for the state,' he said.

The state government had recently undertaken a surveillance of the people through mobile tracking after a spike in COVID-19 cases in Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore districts.

A majority of the people in the three districts who tested positive for COVID-19 had links to West Bengal prompting the government to take this step.

As many as 2,900 people from 29 of the 30 districts of Odisha, were found to have travelled to West Bengal between March 25 and April 23, the officials said.

The surveillance was done by tracking the mobile phones, they said.

Meanwhile, the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO), Khurda, has started the process of tracing the people who had recently visited West Bengal.

The officials said, similar letters have been served to the authorities of the remaining 29 districts. PTI AAM MM MM