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COVID-19: Odisha govt asks districts and civic bodies to focus

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Press Trust of India Bhubaneswar
Voicing concern over the failure to track over 2,800 overseas returnees in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Odisha government has directed the districts and civic bodies to focus on surveillance, and intensify contact tracing to place such people under quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The latest data available with the government indicates that 2,856 people, who have returned from abroad during the last fortnight, could not be contacted by the district surveillance teams so far, an official said on Monday.
"Though the state government has a dedicated portal for registration of people coming from abroad, these people did not do so. They did not use the 104-helpline also," Health & Family Welfare Secretary N B Dhal said.
There is a possibility that they could infect others, he said

The government can take legal action against them, Dhal said.
Of the 2,856 untracked foreign returnees, around 400 are from Bhubaneswar, 650 from Ganjam district, sources said.
Therefore they need to be contacted at the earliest and placed under home quarantine, Dhal said. Describing active surveillance as the foundation of prevention and containment, the Health and Family Welfare Department, in a communication, has directed all district collectors and municipal commissioners to focus on active surveillance and initiate contact tracing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Steps should be taken to conduct risk-based testing, isolation of confirmed coronavirus positive cases and contact tracing, the official said.
Similarly, it must be ensured that contacts of the confirmed COVID-19 cases should be quarantined, irrespective of symptoms, he said, adding that they need to be contacted at the earliest.
With the fear of community spread of COVID-19 looming large, the state government has already asked around 84,000 people, who returned to Odisha either from abroad or from other states, to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.
More than 78,000 persons returned to Odisha from other states, while over 4,500 others have come from foreign countries recently, sources said.
The state government has directed panchayat samitis and district authorities to ensure that people, mostly migrant workers, who recently returned from different COVID-19-hit states, are placed under home isolation or put in panchayat quarantine facilities, for 14 days.

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First Published: Mar 30 2020 | 1:28 PM IST

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