Odisha reports 1,282 new COVID-19 cases, 1 fresh fatality

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(Eds: Adds inputs) Bhubaneswar, Apr 9 (PTI) Odisha's COVID-19 tally soared to 3,46,808 as the state registered this year's highest single-day spike of 1,282 new cases on Friday, a health official said.

One fresh fatality pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 1,924, he said.

The state had reported 1,220 daily cases on November 11 last year.

Of the new cases, 755 were reported in quarantine centres, while 527 infections were detected during contact tracing.

Sundergarh district reported the highest number of new cases at 224, followed by Khurda (192) and Kalahandi (108).

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday launched a 14 -day special drive to contain the spread of the disease by enforcing the norms related to wearing of masks in public places.

In a video message to the people of Odisha, Patnaik said the 'Mask Abhijan (drive)' is launched to avoid unpleasant situations like lockdown, shutdown and curfew, which have an adverse impact on the livelihood of the people.

'Now the second wave of COVID cases has started.

Lockdowns, shutdowns and night curfews have been imposed in many states. But we can stop the infection without even a lockdown if we adhere to the COVID protocols and wear masks properly,' he said.

The chief minister said the penalty amount for violation of the norm regarding wearing masks was doubled.

A person pays Rs 1,000 for violating norm related to wearing a mask and now Rs 2,000 will be levied as a penalty.

Violators will be charged Rs 2,000 for the first and second offence, and they will be penalised Rs 5,000 for not adhering to the protocol for the third time onward.

One COVID-19 patient succumbed to the infection in Ganjam, taking the district's coronavirus death toll to 250, the official said.

Khurda district has so far reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths at 341, followed by Ganjam (250) and Sundergarh (174).

Fifty-three coronavirus patients have died due to comorbidities, he said.

The state now has 5,631 active cases.

At least 310 patients were cured of the disease during the day, taking the total number of recoveries to 3,39,200.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday said states should observe a 'vaccine festival' between April 11-14 to inoculate the maximum number of eligible beneficiaries against COVID-19.

The Odisha government urged the Centre to allocate at least 25 lakh doses of 'Covishield' vaccine to make it a grand success in the state.

The coastal state has so far tested over 93.04 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 29,081 on Friday and the positivity rate stands at 3.73 per cent.

The Railway Board rejected the Odisha government's demand of cancelling all passenger trains from Chhattisgarh, which is reporting a large number of fresh coronavirus cases.

The board assured Odisha of making the train passengers aware of the government's decision that they have to carry RT-PCR negative reports or final vaccination certificates.

The train cancellation issue may be taken up with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, it said.

In view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the Commissionarate of Police, issued a guideline, restricting the number of attendants in marriage ceremonies up to 50.

'There will be no marriage procession until further orders,' it said, adding that the number of participants in funerals has been reduced to 20 from 50.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ordered all the educational institutions in the state capital to vacate their hostels.

The BMC's decision was opposed by the students of Vani Vihar in Utkal University and they staged a road blockade during the day. PTI AAM BDC BDC