Odisha extends partial lockdown till Aug 1, eases some curbs

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Bhubaneswar, Jul 15 (PTI) The Odisha government Thursday allowed the movement of passenger buses, and barber shops and beauty parlours to resume business, while extending the partial lockdown till 6 am of August 1.

Briefing journalists, Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra said, the partial lockdown was extended as the pandemic situation has not yet come under 'complete control'.

The lockdown, which was to end on Friday, was imposed in the coastal state on May 5.

This is for the fourth time in the second wave of the pandemic that the state government has extended the lockdown.

Mohapatra said, 'The daily test positivity rate (TPR) of Odisha, which was 5 per cent on July 1, has now come down to below 3 per cent. The number of daily infections has also come down to 2,000 from 3,000 reported earlier this month.

'It means the situation has not fully improved.' On the lifting of some curbs, Mohapatra said, 'The government in a bid to strike a balance between life and livelihood has announced some relaxations.' Although gyms have been allowed to operate, schools, colleges, coaching centres, and religious establishments will remain closed till August 1.

Maximum 25 people can attend a marriage ceremony, while 20 people can remain present at a funeral.

Parks, shopping malls, cinema halls will remain closed and exhibitions, jatras (popular folk theatre) and fairs will not be allowed during the partial lockdown.

However, the state government has allowed indoor and outdoor shootings for films and serials across the state with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.

Announcing the graded relaxations, the chief secretary said, the districts have been divided into two categories Category A and Category B.

While 20 districts under Category A are located in the western and southern regions of the state, the remaining 10 coastal districts are in Category B, he said.

The chief secretary said the rate of infection in districts like Khurda, Cuttack, and Puri is very high.

Of the 2,000 daily cases being reported now, around 70 to 80 per cent of them are in the 10 Category B districts Khurda district, comprising the state capital, reports around 40 per cent of the new cases.

In Category A districts, shops will be allowed to remain open from 6 am till 8 pm on all days.

The relaxation will be applicable between 6 am and 5 pm in Category B districts, he said.

The districts under Category A are Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Nuapada, Sonepur, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Boudh, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Angul, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar.

The Category B districts are Khurda, Puri, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, and Mayurbhanj.

The night curfew will remain in force in all 30 districts of the state while the weekend shutdown is to be imposed only in Category-B districts.

The night curfew in Category B districts will be from 5 pm to 6 am.

However, the weekly and daily markets will remain closed for the next two weeks in Category-B districts, he said.

The chief secretary further said buses will be allowed to ply in all districts of the state except in Puri (till July 25 due to Ratha Jatra).

While there is no time limit for operating buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws can move only outside the curfew hours. PTI AAM MM MM

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