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Odisha’s Lone Coronavirus-Positive Man Recovering Well; Samples of All 46 Suspects Test Negative

File photo of Subrato Bagchi, head of Odisha’s COVID-19 Prevention Committee.

File photo of Subrato Bagchi, head of Odisha’s COVID-19 Prevention Committee.

A 31-year-old Bhubaneswar resident, who was working in Italy as a researcher, tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 on Monday after reaching Bhubaneswar by train from Delhi.

Bhubaneswar: The only person so far in Odisha to have tested positive for coronavirus is recovering well at a hospital here and has high chances of complete recovery, said a top official of a government panel formed to monitor and combat the spread of the disease in the state.

“The 31-year-old coronavirus positive person’s condition is stable. He is recovering well and fast. He had rice, dalma and other curries for lunch today. We’re waiting for his samples to test negative soon,” said chief government spokesperson Subrato Bagchi.

The man, a Bhubaneswar resident, was working in Italy as a researcher. He tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 on Monday after reaching Bhubaneswar by train from Delhi.

In a major relief to the Naveen Patnaik government that has heightened its efforts to spread awareness to prevent the spread of the virus in the state, all the samples of 46 suspects have tested negative. A number of restrictions have been imposed across the state in the past five days, and a panel of experts and IAS officers is monitoring the situation round the clock.

A helpline number (104) set up to meet citizen’s queries on the coronavirus and offer counselling has witnessed a sharp spike in the number of calls.

“While the helpline normally gets an average 500 calls daily, it received more than 5,000 calls in the last 24 hours seeking advice on the highly contagious virus,” said Bagchi, a well-known entrepreneur and co-founder of technology firm, Mindtree, who has been helping the state government in developing people’s skills.

Bagchi is the chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA), a post that has the rank and status of a cabinet minister.

As many as 2,131 people who returned to Odisha from 80 countries in the past few days had registered themselves in the state government’s COVID-19 portal by 2.15pm on Wednesday, said Information and Technology Secretary Manoj Mishra.

“The highest number of people returned to Odisha from UAE (20 per cent), followed by the US (nine per cent), Saudi Arabia (five per cent), the UK (four per cent) and Malaysia (four per cent). There is none from China. Of them, as much as 37 per cent (the highest) are residents of, or currently living in, Khordha district, of which Bhubaneswar is a part. Only 97 of these people are over the age 60 years,” said Mishra.

The chief minister, who has been appealing to people to stay safe, took to Twitter on Monday stating his sister, the US-based celebrated author Gita Mehta, has registered with details on the state government portal meant for persons coming from abroad.

“I appeal to all of you to also register details about your family members and friends coming from abroad. This will help protect #Odisha from #CoronaVirus,” said Patnaik.

The Odisha government declared coronavirus as a “state disaster” and invoked the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, on March 13 to prevent the spread of the disease, becoming the first state in the country to do so.