(Eds: Updating with fresh inputs) Bhubaneswar, Apr 7 (PTI) Odisha's COVID-19 tally rose to 3,44,647 on Wednesday as it reported 791 new cases, the highest spike this year, even as the state government halted inoculation drive in 700 centres due to shortage of vaccines and moved the Centre seeking immediate supply of 25 lakh Covishield doses.
The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 1,923 as one more person succumbed to the disease in Puri district, an official said.
'Due to shortage of vaccine, we have to close nearly 700 vaccination centres in the state (out of over 1400 functional sites). Only 755 could be made active today,' Odisha's Health and Family Welfare Minister N K Das said in a letter to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan.
Noting that Odisha vaccinates about 2.5 lakh people daily, Das said the state has achieved a negative vaccine wastage of -0.5 per cent which is vaccine savings of 0.5 per cent. This could be possible due to diligent and meticulous management of a valuable vaccine resource, he said.
The minister in the letter said that as of April 7 (10 am), Odisha has a stock of 5.34 lakh doses of Covishield, which will meet requirement of two more days.
'By April 9, there will be stock-out of Covishield vaccine in the entire state. This will adversely impact timely administration of second dose of vaccine as well as delay in vaccination of citizens (45 years and above),' he said.
The Odisha Health minister also drew the attention of Vardhan that this (shortage) matter has been raised repeatedly by the Additional Chief Secretary, Health Department, Government of Odisha with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
'Therefore, I would like to draw your kind attention to this matter and request you to take necessary steps for supplying at least 10 days stock which is 25 lakh doses of vaccine to the state immediately for effective vaccination of the targeted population,' the minister said in the letter.
Meanwhile, the state during the day registered recovery of 246 patients taking the total number of cured persons to 3,38,662, which is 98.26 per cent of the caseload.
The state's case fatality ratio (CFR) stands at 0.55 per cent while its positivity rate is 3.73 per cent, a data released by the Health and Family Welfare department said.
Of the new COVID-19 cases detected on Wednesday, 459 were reported from quarantine centres and 332 detected during contact tracing.
Sundargarh district reported the highest number of fresh cases at 147, followed by Khurda (118), Bargarh (48), Cuttack (46) and Sambalpur (45).
Odisha currently has 4,009 active COVID-19 cases.
The Odisha Police on Wednesday launched a 10-day special drive to strictly enforce the COVID safety protocols.
The state government has started imposing night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am in Sundargarh, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput and Nabarangpur districts to contain the spread of the disease.
The state has so far tested over 92.44 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 31,531 on Tuesday, and the positivity rate stands at 3.73 per cent.
In view of the rise in COVID-19 cases, the state government Wednesday restricted the entry of visitors to government offices in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and District headquarters where infection rate is high.
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a set of guidelines for all higher educational institutions including Plus II Colleges and Degree Colleges in the capital city and directed authorities to ask students to vacate the hostel premise immediately who have appeared in their examinations.
The students who are due for examination shall be asked to vacate the hostel premises as soon as their examination schedule are over with proper intimation to their parents, the BMC said.
Meanwhile, the state government Wednesday suspended physical teaching of Class 9 and 11 students at all schools including private and aided institutions in view of the spike of cases from April 8 till further order. PTI AAM RG RG