Bhubaneswar: Odisha authorities on Friday said they suspect community transmission of novel coronavirus has started in the state after the fifth patient with no travel history tested positive for the disease. Authorities have imposed “complete shutdown” in Bhubaneswar, Bhadrak and Cuttack for 48 hours starting from 8 pm on April 3.
Unlike the previous Covid-19 cases, the fifth patient from Surya Nagar area in Bhubaneswar to test positive did not travel outside Odisha in the past one month. This, lead health officials to believe factors such as people breaking lockdown regulations and contracting the virus through infected people led to the outbreak in the state.
A day after he tested positive, in an unusual move, the state government revealed the full identity of the patient, including name, age and address. The identity of Pradipta Dalabehera, 60 was released on Thursday evening by officials who said it was done in ‘larger public interest’ and awareness against community transmission. Dalabehera is currently under treatment at AIIMS Bhubaneswar, and roads in the area in Surya Nagar leading to his house have been barricaded.
“Our officials are engaged in finding out how this person acquired the virus, and the area around his house is under containment. The government is going to impose a 48-hour complete shutdown of Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak town starting 8 pm tonight. Anyone seen moving outside would be brought by police and other government agencies to quarantine centres and placed there for the next 14 days,” said Odisha chief secretary Asit Tripathy. The restrictions were later extended to include Cuttack region as well.
Meanwhile, two virus patients in Odisha were reported to have fully recovered from the illness and were discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours. The second person to be infected in the state, a 19-year-old youth who had tested positive upon his return from the UK, was discharged on Thursday from AIIMS Bhubaneswar.
The first infected person, a 30-year-old researcher based in Italy, who had come to the state from Delhi after travelling to Italy earlier this month, was discharged from Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar on Friday morning.
Officials identified the state’s sixth coronavirus case on Friday noon. Travel history reveals the person had recently visited Delhi.
Till Thursday night, as many as 1,113 samples were tested in Odisha at the three state centres, and no new cases were found, said the state health department. The state government has requested Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to allow COVID-19 testing at three other medical facilities in the state and placed orders to procure additional kits for testing at least 50,000 samples in the near future.
The state government has already assembled three dedicated medical facilities for Covid-19 patients – two in Bhubaneswar and one in nearby Cuttack – having a total of 1,000 beds. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated two of them on Thursday. All district headquarters hospitals have been directed to put in place systems for initial treatment of possible COVID-19 patients.