Odisha anticipates COVID will peak soon, keeps infrastructure ready

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 21 (PTI) Anticipating that the second wave of coronavirus will reach its peak sometime between last week of April and first week of May, the Odisha government on Wednesday claimed that it is fully prepared for the eventualities.

The government also issued a stern warning to doctors who have been transferred asking them to immediately join their new places of posting or face action.

Directorate of Medical Education & Training (DMET) Director, Prof CBK Mohanty, said that the peak has started in Maharashtra and the national capital of Delhi might see the climax by last week of April.

'In Odisha, the peak might come between the end of April and first week of May. After that, the cases will decrease naturally at the same pace as it is increasing now,' he said.

Appealing to people not to panic over the emerging situation, Mohanty said that the state has adequate hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators and oxygen to deal with the situation.

'We have kept 70 dedicated COVID hospitals ready even as the last year's requirement was for only 31 such facilities,' he said.

According to the DMET director, so far only 26 per cent of the general beds, 14.18 per cent of the ICU beds and 10 per cent of ventilators have been used while the state is availing its oxygen supply from 29 agencies.

Cluster Level Temporary Medical Camps have been created at block level for isolation of migrants who are returning to the state.

Mohanty said, 'A number of doctors temporarily posted for management of coronavirus in different districts are not joining their place of deployment, putting hardships on the district administration in its preparedness against COVID-19.' Action will be taken against them if they do not join immediately, he said.

Odisha DGP Abhay visited bordering districts such as Bolangir, Kalahandi and Nuapada and reviewed implementation of night curfew, weekend shutdown and functioning of border check posts.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party leader in the assembly, Narasingha Mishra, on Wednesday said that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The MLA of Bolangir, who has already taken the second jab of the COVID-19 vaccine, advised those who came in contact with him recently to undergo COVID-19 tests.

The opposition BJP alleged that the state government has failed to scale up testing facilities. While the number of testing per day was above 50,000 in the first phase last year, it has not crossed 40,000 tests per day.

BJP state vice-president Prithviraj Harichandan also demanded that the BJD government make public the exact quantity of oxygen available in the state.

There is no clarity whether the 500 ventilators supplied to the state by the Centre have been utilised or not, he claimed.

Senior BJD leader and Labour Minister Sushant Singh, however, said that the Odisha government has taken several proactive measures to protect the lives of people. PTI AAM NN NN