Odisha extends lockdown with stricter restrictions till June 1

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Bhubaneswar, May 18 (PTI) With Odisha continuing to report around 10,000 new COVID-19 cases daily, the state government on Tuesday extended the ongoing lockdown with stricter restrictions by two more weeks till on June 1.

Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra announced this a day before the completion of the tenure of the first phase of lockdown at 5 am on May 19.

The chief secretary said that the complete weekend shutdown on Saturdays and Sundays, when only hospitals and medical outlets are allowed to operate, will also continue as earlier.

Mohapatra said that some stricter measures will be taken in the second phase of the lockdown. During the first phase, people got six hours from 6 am daily to purchase essential items, but now the window was reduced to five hours.

'People can buy the essentials between 6 am and 11 am by walking to the nearby markets,' he said.

The government has also decided to further reduce the number of attendees in wedding ceremonies from 50 to 25, including the bride, the groom and priests, he said.

The ceiling for the number of participants in thread ceremony/ funerals/ last rites has been limited to 20.

The chief secretary said that there will be no feast in any of the functions and guests may be allowed to take away food items in packets.

Local authorities will give permission for marriages and other events, a notification said.

Inter-state and intra-state bus service will remain suspended till June 1.

Though the number of daily rise in COVID-19 cases remains at about 10,000, it appeared to be in a plateau state.

There has been improvement in the situation in western Odisha districts bordering Chhattisgarh due to the ongoing lockdown and weekend shutdown, Mohapatra said.

On May 2, the state government had announced a 14-day complete lockdown with effect from May 5. This apart, complete weekend shutdown was also imposed throughout the state. PTI AAM NN NN