The Odisha government has committed Rs 200 crore to its Public Health Response Fund to contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak which has been declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik in a statement to the state assembly informed that his Cabinet met this morning and declared COVID-19 as a disaster for the state under the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005.
“An empowered group of ministers has been constituted and a committee of secretaries under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary is to be constituted to evaluate the emerging situation and take all necessary steps for preventing, containing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the state. The COVID-19 Odisha Regulations, 2020 have been approved”, Patnaik said.
Identifying social distance as the only effective measure to combat Coronavirus, the state government has announced that all educational institutions would be shut till March 31, 2020 except for conducting examinations. Official gatherings like seminars, workshops and conferences are to be cancelled. Local authorities will regulate social gatherings and religious congregations. Cinema halls, swimming pools and gyms are to be closed till March 31, 2020.
“The experience of China, Singapore and Italy has given us a learning on what to do and what not to do. I must confess the entire world is on a learning curve about handling this disaster”, Patnaik said.
The state's health & family welfare department and its directorates as well as collectors and municipal commissioners have been authorized to go for emergency procurement of necessary drugs and consumables, equipment and other required services as necessary to prevent, contain and mitigate COVID-19.
A notification issued by the state health & family welfare department mandates all hospitals to have COVID-19 corners for screening suspected cases. During screening of such cases, all hospitals are required to record travel history of the persons affected by Coronavirus. If the person has any such travel history to the affected areas in the last 14 days and is asymptomatic, she or he must remain under home quarantine for 14 days from the day of exposure. Any person or institution is debarred from disseminating any information on print, electronic or social media regarding COVID-19 without approval from the Directorate of Medical Education & Training (DMET), Directorate of Health Services or the district collector.
Moreover, the competent officers have been authorized to impose required restrictions on assemblies, congregations, institutions and establishments aiming at social distancing to contain the spread of the disease by invoking powers under 'Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.