Practise social distancing to prevent COVID-19: Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar, Mar 15 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday asked people to practise social distancing and refrain from spreading misinformation about COVID-19, saying extraordinary circumstances call for an extraordinary response.

Two days after the BJD government in Odisha had declared the disease as a 'state disaster' and allocated Rs 200 crore to combat it, the chief minister appealed to the citizens that each one has to be committed as an individual and each family has to act as a responsible unit to protect one other from this pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, has led to more than 5,000 deaths globally.

Emphasising that collective and responsible action is required to successfully contain the spread of the disease, Patnaik said personal inconveniences will be faced and families may have to make sacrifices, but extraordinary circumstances call for an extraordinary response.

'Terming the #COVID19 outbreak a pandemic for human race, one without vaccine or treatment, CM @Naveen Odisha has appealed all the citizens to practice social distancing and refrain from spreading rumours and misinformation,' the Chief Minister's Office said in a tweet.

Each one should avoid social gatherings and assemblies like religious functions, marriage receptions, the chief minister said.

'Being at home, reducing social interactions and avoiding gatherings will cut down vulnerability to a great extent,' he said.

So far, no coronavirus case has been confirmed in the state.

'All the 22 swab and blood samples collected from coronavirus suspects till Saturday have tested negative,' an official said.

Meanwhile, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Sunday announced imposition of restrictions for servitors and devotees at the 12th century shrine in Puri.

The measures were decided at a meeting attended by chief administrator of the SJTA, Puri district collector, superintendent of police and servitors of the temple.

The servitors will have to wear masks while performing rituals inside the temple, wash hands frequently, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as part of the precautionary measures, an official said.

The devotees will have to submit self-declaration forms before entering the temple premises, SJTA chief administrator Krishan Kumar said.

'They will have to stand in a queue for entering the shrine and a gap of at least 2 metres has to be maintained between them,' he said.

Restrictions have also been imposed on touching of Aruna Stambha, Garuda Stambha and the idols in the temple, he said. PTI SKN MM AQS AQS