Odisha reports 113 new COVID-19 cases, govt modifies pandemic order

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(Eds: Updating with modified COVID order) Bhubaneswar, Mar 23 (PTI) Odisha's COVID-19 caseload rose to 3,39,076 as 113 more people tested positive for the virus while the state government on Tuesday modified some of its orders for stricter enforcement of measures in view of possible resurgence of the pandemic, an official said.

Odisha Chief Secretary in an order said that though the state had earlier in the March guideline had allowed a congregation of 500 people during marriage and 200 participants in funeral functions, now it is reduced to 200 people and 50 people respectively.

The order also said that the new enforcement will come to effect from March 26.

Similarly, it said in closed spaces, the attendance will be maximum 50 per cent of the hall capacity subject to the new ceilings. In open spaces, an appropriate number of persons should be allowed keeping in view the ground/open space size to ensure physical distancing norms could be maintained, it said.

Wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and provision of thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitiser are mandatory at such functions.

The host of the marriage or funeral function shall make necessary arrangements for checking at the entry point and ensure wearing of masks by the guests and others during the entire duration of their participation.

Host shall also make arrangements to provide masks to those who have not come with appropriate masks, the modified guideline said.

District Collectors, SPs and Municipal Commissioners, and Commissionerate of Police were also directed to ensure implementation of the new guidelines.

Any person found violating the order, will be punished under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005 and other relevant laws, the order said.

Meanwhile, the state's coronavirus death toll remained at 1,919 as no new fatalities were reported since Monday. A total of 53 other COVID-19 patients have also died in the state due to comorbidities, the official said.

Odisha now has 898 active COVID-19 cases which is 0.24 per cent of the caseload.

Sundergarh district reported the highest of 20 new infections, followed by Cuttack (17) and Khurda (14), he said.

A college in Cuttack, which has so far reported 29 COVID-19 cases, has been shut down for 10 days, another official said.

The Xavier Institute of Management (XIMB) in Bhubaneswar also reported 24 coronavirus cases on Monday, and it has been sealed for three days, Commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), P C Chaudhury, said.

The state during the day also registered recovery of 60 patients taking the total number of cured persons to 3,36,266 which is 99.17 per cent of the caseload.

The state has so far tested over 88.35 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 21,392 on Monday. PTI AAM RG RG