Modifying its earlier order, the Odisha government on Monday extended the weekend shutdown to all urban areas of the state with effect from April 24 in view of the “unprecedented” surge of Covid-19 cases. The April 15 order had announced imposition of weekend shutdowns in all urban areas of 10 bordering districts, while the fresh order said that similar restrictions will be clamped in towns of the remaining 20 districts.
“In view of the interest of public health and containment of spread of Covid-19 in the state, weekend shutdown on Saturday and Sunday shall be imposed in all urban areas of the state with effect from April 24,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena told reporters. This apart, Jena said that the night curfew, which was imposed earlier, will also continue.
While the timing of the night curfew in the 10 bordering districts is effective from 6 pm to 5 am, that in the 20 other districts is 9 pm to 5 am. All the essential services including hospitals, nursing homes, medicine stores, grocery shops and milk booths will continue functioning as usual during the shutdown, Jena said.
He said that eateries on national and state highways will remain open but customers can only pick up food parcels from there. The fresh order also said that marriage and funeral programme organisers will have to mandatorily submit the list of participants to local authorities for permission 24 hours before the events. The present cap of 50 attendees at weddings and 20 at funerals will continue, he said.
The official said that the police and civic authorities will strictly enforce the measures and action will be taken against the violators of the steps. In a related development, though all educational institutions across the state remained closed from Monday, the School and Mass Education Department in an order made it mandatory for presence of 50 per cent staff in schools for smooth continuation of important programmes like admission.