Odisha reports 218 new COVID-19 cases, priority vaccination groups identified

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 30 (PTI) Odisha reported 218 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, officials said.

The state government has asked the district and civic bodies to ensure that the recent spike does not turn into a wave, they said.

The right effort at this time will save unnecessary pain and suffering and redeployment of scarce resources again, Additional Chief Secretary of Health and Family Welfare PK Mohapatra said in a letter to the local authorities.

Of the new cases, 129 have been reported from different quarantine centres, officials said.

The state has so far reported 3,40,620 cases, they said.

Bargarh district recorded the highest 34 cases, followed by Nuapada (29), Sundargarh (26) and Khurda (25).

Only Malakangiri district continued to remain COVID- free with no active cases in over a week, officials said.

The death toll remained unchanged at 1,921 as no more fatalities were reported since Monday.

There are 1,837 active cases in the state at present, while 3,36,809 patients have recovered.

The state has so far tested 90.23 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 21,648 on Monday.

The state's positivity rate stands at 3.77 per cent, officials said.

Meanwhile, students of the Bhubanananda Orissa School of Engineering (BOSE) in Cuttack staged a dharna in front of the institute, demanding the cancellation of the offline examinations, scheduled to be held on Wednesday.

Three students of BOSE have tested positive for COVID-19, and therefore, the examination should be held online, they said.

The state government has planned at least 2 lakh vaccinations per day from April 1 when people above 45 years will be inoculated, Mohapatra said.

In that age group, the government has asked the authorities to vaccinate with priority to those who are at the highest risk of being potential super spreaders -- street vendors, meat and fish sellers, auto and bus drivers, school and college teachers, salon and barbershop employees and security guards.

They should be covered under the vaccination drive as early as possible, Mohapatra said.

He said the vaccination will continue even on April 1 and 2, which are government holidays for Utkala Dibasa and Good Friday, respectively.

Mohapatra also instructed the authorities that the shops violating COVID protocols should be sealed. PTI AAM SOM SOM