The gallop of Covid positive cases in the state capital Bhubaneswar with 1044 cases in the past 24 hours has triggered speculations of an imminent lockdown.

The 35 percent spike over the previous day prompted the local authorities to seal one of the major market place in the city and a couple of vegetable and fish markets. Of the new cases, 825 were local contacts and 219 quarantine. As many as 447 patients recovered from the disease on the day.

Among local contacts, the highest 64 cases were reported from Patia, followed by 49 from Nayapalli, 47 from Khandagiri, 42 from Chandrashekarpur and 39 from Old Town.

The total number of active cases in the state capital has risen to 6493. As such there is a weekend lockdown in place in the city as well as all urban areas of the state.

The one major problem is with regards to the ongoing vaccination process. A week long shutdown will disrupt the vaccination process, noted public health experts while insisting upto night curfew , Section 144 CrPC in public places as possible alternatives to try and check the spread or break the circuit.

One of the major aims of a lockdown was to create infrastructure and build up supplies which was justifiable last year. Now it is a question of reactivating existing infrastructure and ensuring that crowding does not take place, they added.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) today declared the number of beds at Covid hospitals in the city will be increased by another 3,000 in 10 days time. Presently fifty percent of the existing beds are occupied while 85 per cent of the cases are in home isolation, said the BMC sources.

Director health and family welfare, Bijay Panigrahi said the spurt in cases in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack hints at a community transmission-like situation. The two cities are urban conglomerates where people frequent from other hotspot areas, he noted.