After languishing in the red zone for two months ~ even before Phase One of the lockdown kicked in on the morning of 25 March ~ it now redounds to the credit of the Odisha administration that Bhubaneswar is in a position to shed the coronavirus tag.
Both care and cure have been effective in the state capital considering that 48 patients, who had tested positive, have been discharged from hospital.
At another remove, developments in Jagatsinghpur are rather puzzling as Covid-19 appears to be playing yo-yo with the district.
A few hours after the predominantly rural area was declared ‘Covid-free’ along with Bhubaneswar, which has earned the green tag, Jagatsinghpur has yet again been daubed in shades of red, to borrow the language of the metaphor.
For a while, there was a sigh of relief both in investment-friendly Bhubaneswar and agrarian Jajatsinghpur. It bears recall that the first case in Bhubaneswar was reported on 15 March when the victim had returned from Italy, one of the worst affected countries in the world.
The glimmer of hope in Jagatsinghpur has alas turned out to be momentary; it has given way to dire despair. As many as 20 new cases have been reported from the district; 19 of them are natives of West Bengal and one from Tamil Nadu.
All of them have been quarantined and will be sent to Covid-care hospitals for treatment. The remarkable success of the medical fraternity in Bhubaneswar can largely be attributed to rigorous tracing, effective containment, and stringent enforcement of Covid-19 guidelines.
To that can be added the discipline of the citizens in the wake of the lockdown.
The cooperation of the city’s residents was no less effective than what the health authorities call “aggressive containment measures”.
Thus has the glitzy state capital come out of the red zone. Now at the threshold of Phase 4 of the seemingly interminable lockdowns, there is not a single “active case” of Covid-19, going by the health department’s data.
At one stage, there were 50 afflicted people, of whom as many as 48 have recovered. Two died of co-morbidities.
The forward movement in Bhubaneswar has been remarkable. Once declared as Odisha’s hotspot and the epicentre of the scourge, four families had accounted for around 70 per cent of the Covid-19 positive cases.
It was a daunting challenge for the health authorities as the families as well as their “extended contacts” had tested positive. The department responded with “aggressive screening”.
A not dissimilar strategy is now imperative in the vulnerable districts of Ganjam, Balasore, Jajpur and Bhadrak ~ home to migrants from West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra (the country’s worst affected), and Tamil Nadu. And thereby hangs a tale. For now, Bhubaneswar’s remarkable recovery must be sustained.