Amid downward trajectory of COVID-19 infection and Test Positivity Rate, the Odisha government on Thursday allowed the inter-district bus services throughout the State while extending the partial lockdown for the next two weeks till 6 am on August 1.
Earlier bus services were allowed in twenty districts where the TPR remained less than five percent and were bracketed in the ‘A’ category. Now the embargo on bus services in 10 coastal districts, where the number of cases is high and is in the category ‘B’, has been lifted. However the bus services to Puri will remain suspended in view of the Rath Yatra festival, Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra said here today.
The taxi and auto-rickshaw can move across the state with strict adherence COVID-19 protocol frame by the government.
The buses will be operational only with seating capacity. No passengers will be allowed to stand. The ban on interstate bus services however continues to remain in force till further orders, he said.
Easing the lockdown further, the government today also allowed the shops in 20 Category-A districts to open from 7 am to 8 pm while in Category B districts (coastal districts) the shops will open from 7 am to 5 pm.
The night curfew in the Category-A districts will be enforced from 8 pm to 6 am while the night curfew in Category-B coastal districts will be from 5 pm to 6 am. There will be no weekend shutdown in Category A districts.
Restrictions on participation in marriage ceremonies and funeral restrictions will continue to remain in force while bars will remain closed. Restaurants will be allowed takeaways only and not eating will be allowed in the premises. There will be no feast in wedding and funeral functions. Schools and Colleges will remain closed till further orders. Similarly the restrictions on parks, malls, movie theatres, exhibitions, jatra and melas will remain in force.
The daily and weekly markets in category-B districts will remain closed till the infection rate dips further. The lockdown restrictions for marriage, cremation, meetings, social gatherings, and opening of temples will continue as before.
The government has, however, allowed gym, spa, and beauty parlours to open from Friday. The Indoor/outdoor shooting for films in category-A and B districts was also allowed by the government.
The 20 districts classified Category-A are Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Kalahandi, Balangir, Nuapada, Sonepur, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Boudh, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Angul, Dhenkanal, and Keonjhar– have been classified.
Besides, 10 districts that are classified under Category-B are Khordha, Puri, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, and Mayurbhanj.
As the second wave reached its deadliest peak consistently clocking over 10,000 positive cases daily, the State government had clamped lockdown on 5 May this year for a fortnight. Later it was extended in periodic intervals as covid surge goes unabated in the State.
The State government has enforced five lockdowns including the latest one to arrest the virus infection in the State. The enforcement of lockdown restrictions has paid positive dividends with the steady decline of positive cases and dip in positivity rate in the State. The test positivity rate (TPR), which was at a peak of 23% has now slumped below 3% definitely due to strict enforcement of lockdown and adherence to COVID-19 protocol by people, said officials.