Bhubaneswar, Jul 31 (PTI) The Odisha government on Friday announced a weekend shutdown in four districts and Rourkela city till August 31 in the wake of a spurt in COVID- 19 cases, officials said.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said the shutdown will be imposed in Ganjam, Khurda, Gajapati and Cuttack districts and Rourkela city on Saturdays and Sundays.
However, on August 1 and 2, the shutdown will be imposed from 1 pm to 9 pm and normal activities will be allowed from 5 am to 1 pm, he said.
The state government has also decided to continue night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am across the state in August, Jena said.
A complete lockdown will be imposed in the containment zones till August 31 and no one will be allowed to enter or exit these areas, he said.
Places of worship and cinema halls will remain closed till August 31. Teaching will not be permitted in educational institutes but examinations and administrative work can be conducted, the SRC said.
Yoga centres and gymnasiums in the state can operate from August 5 onwards in accordance with the standard operating procedure laid down by the Centre, he said.
Social, political and cultural programmes will be prohibited in August, Jena said.
Government offices can operate with 50 per cent staff and private establishments can function with a reduced workforce, while work from home will be encouraged, he said.
Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said the government has decided to hike penalties for violation of safety measures like wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and restrictions on congregations.
'We have to reopen further to normalise economic activities. But no congregation will be allowed and COVID-19 guidelines will have to be strictly followed in closed areas like factories and offices,' he said.
For the first and second-time offences of not wearing masks in public places, a fine of Rs 1,000 will be imposed on violators and a penalty of Rs 5,000 will be slapped for subsequent offences, he said.
The penalty amount was Rs 500 for the first-time offence and Rs 1,000 for the subsequent ones.
Violation of social distancing norms during marriage ceremonies and in commercial establishments will attract a fine of Rs 10,000. The venue will be sealed for a first-time violation and for a month for the subsequent ones, the official said.
No more than 10 people will be allowed to congregate anywhere and a fine of Rs 10,000 will be imposed on violators, he said.
Shopkeepers found violating social distancing norms will also be slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000 and their shops will be sealed, Tripathy said.
The chief secretary said COVID-19 positivity rate is declining in hotspot districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur and Cuttack.
The mortality rate among COVID-19 patients in the state is the lowest in the country while the discharge rate is also improving, he said.
'It is still premature to predict anything as of now as COVID-19 is a new disease. However, these are encouraging signs,' Tripathy said.
He said 90 per cent of the people abide by COVID-19 guidelines and the remaining 10 per cent pose a serious threat to public health. PTI SKN ACD ACD