Odisha issues COVID-19 guideline for April, focuses on by-poll & festivals

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 31 (PTI) With the resurgence of coronavirus cases in some areas of the state, Odisha government on Wednesday issued guidelines for the month of April keeping in view the ensuing by-elections at Pipili and a series of religious festivals next month.

The guideline to be effective between April 1 and April 30, allowed the district authorities and municipal corporations to enforce micro containment zones according to the protocols of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The new guideline also stressed on the testing, tracking and treatment.

The proportion of RT-PCR tests in the total mix should be scaled up to the extent possible.

Effective demarcation of containment zones in vulnerable and high incidence areas is key to breaking the chain of transmission and hence critical to containing the spread of the virus, it said.

The guideline said that the district administration, police and municipal authorities should ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed.

The fresh order continued with the earlier restriction of allowing 200 people gathering in marriage and 50 persons in funeral functions.

Regarding political meetings and other functions/gatherings in connection with Pipili by-elections, as permitted by the Election Commission of India/ Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha, shall be allowed within the jurisdiction of the said assembly constituency.

In the closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons.

Wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing, provision of thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitiser will be mandatory in political meetings.

Similarly, in the open spaces, keeping the size of the ground in view, the district administration shall give permission for gathering for such number of persons as would be appropriate ensuring strict observance of physical distancing norms. Wearing of masks, provision of thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be compulsory.

The District Magistrate-cum-District Election Officer/authorised officer shall ensure strict enforcement of the conditions for holding political meetings and other functions/gatherings in connection with the by-poll.

In view of celebration of several social, religious and cultural events, such as Utkal Divas, Good Friday, Ram Navami, Maha Bishuba Sankranti, Jhammu Jatra and others in different parts of the state during the month, congregation shall not be allowed in public throughout the state.

Religious rituals in churches/temples/places of worship including in places where such rituals are performed traditionally will continue as usual with limited number of persons as allowed by the local authorities Large congregations for celebration of 'Utkal Divas' and associated cultural programmes are not permitted throughout the state, the official meeting /celebration of Utkal Divas will be made with a maximum of 200 participants.

COVID-19 safety protocols like social distancing, use of masks, use of soap & water/sanitizer will be strictly adhered to. Other activities during the day will be avoided.

Other organisations and private institutions will observe Utkal Divas and related activities with prior approval from the local administration, the new advisory said. PTI AAM SNS SNS