Intensifying its battle against COVID 19, the Odisha government has announced a 48-hour total shutdown, akin to curfew, in the state capital Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak town from 8 pm tonight, the state’s top official said. The lockdown in force in other parts of the state will continue during which essential supplies like groceries, vegetables and milk will be available to people. The state has reported five active cases of Coronavirus till now.

During the intensive curfew all shops selling essential commodities will remain closed in Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak towns, Chief Secretary AK Tripathy said. Only select medicine stores will be open, he said, adding the local administrations will decide on which pharmacies will continue to function.

Of the five COVID-19 cases detected in Odisha so far, four are in Bhubaneswar and one in Bhadrak.

“There will be total shutdown in Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak district headquarters town for 48 hours from 8 pm of Friday till 8 PM of Sunday,” the chief secretary said.

Justifying the action, Tripathy said the 48-hour shutdown is required in Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak towns in order to prevent community transmission of the highly infectious disease.

All passes issued for the lockdown period will also remain suspended during the total shutdown in Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak. The situation during the 48-hour shutdown will be like curfew but people need not panic as it is a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19, said Director General of Police P Abhay. Stringent action will be taken against violators of the shutdown guidelines, he said.

The Naveen Patnaik government in its preparation to fight Coronavirus has opened a 500 bedded dedicated Covid Hospital near Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Bhubaneswar which was  readied in a record time of one week.