Odisha reports 170 new COVID cases, night curfew in 2 districts bordering Chhattisgarh

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(Eds: Updating) Bhubaneswar, Mar 24 (PTI) With Odisha's COVID-19 caseload climbing to 3,39,246 after 170 more people tested positive for the virus, the state government on Wednesday imposed night curfew in two districts bordering Chhattishgarh, official sources said.

The districts where night curfew is imposed are Malkangiri and Nabarangpur.

Though Malkangiri remained COVID-19 free since four days, the district administration imposed the night curfew from 9 pm to 6 am keeping in view the volatile situation in neighbouring Chhattisgarh.

The authorities of Nabarangpur district also decided to impose night curfew from Thursday in order to prevent spread of the infection.

Meanwhile, the authorities in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack also intensified enforcement of COVID-19 protocol as the twin cities continue to report new cases in double digit.

What has added to the worries of the people is that the Centre on Wednesday announced that three cases detected in Odisha had United Kingdom strain. Following the disclosure about the UK strain, the state government admitted that it was aware of the incident in December last year.

'We knew about the detection of the three UK strains in the state after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had revealed this during the genome sequencing in December last year. But we had kept it under wraps apprehending that people will panic,' Additional Chief Secretary, Health, PK Mohapatra told reporters.

He urged the people not to panic as the state government has taken necessary steps to contain the spread of the UK mutant strain.

Meanwhile, the state during the day registered recovery of 71 patients taking the total number of cured persons in the state to 3,36,337, which is 99.14 per cent of the caseload.

The state's case fatality ratio (CFR) stands at 0.56 per cent while its positivity rate is 3.83 per cent, a health department official said.

Of the 170 new cases, 99 were reported from quarantine centres, while the remaining 71 were detected during contact tracing, the official said.

The fresh cases included 27 from Nuapada district, 23 each from Cuttack and Khurda districts and 22 from Sundergarh district.

The state's coronavirus death toll remained at 1,919 as no new fatalities were reported since Monday.

Besides, 53 other COVID-19 patients have died due to comorbidities, he said.

Currently, the state has 937 active COVID-19 cases, which is 0.27 per cent of the caseload.

The state has so far conducted over 88.61 lakh sample tests for COVID-19, including 25,829 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, keeping in view the recent spike in COVID- 19 cases in the state, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has decided to keep the 12th-century shrine in Puri closed for a day in a week for disinfection of the premises.

The exact day on which the weekly closure will be implemented is yet to be decided and the SJTA has sought the state government's permission in this regard, SJTA chief administrator Krishan Kumar said.

The additional chief secretary Health said that the state has crossed another milestone by vaccinating over 20 lakh beneficiaries as on March 24. He said the vaccine wastage rate in Odisha is one of the lowest in the country at 0.24 per cent.

Odisha as on date has vaccinated 10,83,021 Senior Citizens and 64,364 beneficiaries aged 45 to 59 with co- morbidity have taken the jab. There was not a single incidence of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), said an officer.

Meanwhile a report from Rourkela said three students of NIT, Rourkela have so far been detected as COVID-19 positive. PTI AAM RG RG