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Phased withdrawal of lockdown in Odisha from June 17

Bhubaneswar: With Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik instructing officials at a review meeting to prepare the blueprint of unlocking in the State, Odisha will be going to witness phased removal of lockdown after June 17.

A risk-based assessment has already been set in the process. The whole state has been divided into 3-zones – districts having a weekly positive rate of below 5 per cent (green zone), districts with a weekly positive rate between 5-10 per cent (orange zone) and districts showing the weekly positive rate of over 10 per cent (red zone).

“If the districts maintain a weekly TPR of below 5 per cent for three weeks (May 25 – June 17), then as per WHO guidelines, the Covid-19 graph in such districts will be considered to have plateaued. The apex world body norms call for removing restrictions in such places and the government is analysing the evolving situation,” explained a senior official in the State Home Department.

The Green Zones

As per the data available with the Union Health Ministry, at present, the country has 449 districts where the weekly TPR has been below 5 per cent. Only six districts from the State could find a place in the coveted list. All the six districts in the State have a weekly TPR of below 5 per cent during the period June 1-8. The districts are Kandhamal, Bargarh, Sonepur, Ganjam and Gajapati.

While the test positive rate during the last week in Kandhamal had been 4.85 per cent, the rate in Bargarh stood at 4.76 per cent, Ganjam (4.35%), Sonepur (4.4%), Gajapati (4.3%), Bolangir (4.06%).

The Orange List

The Union Health Ministry data shows the country has 109 districts in the orange zone, and of the total, only 7 districts are from Odisha. All the 109 districts have a weekly (June 2-8) TPR of 5-10 per cent, The Odisha districts are Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Keonjhar, Deogarh, Kalahandi and Sambalpur.

As per the data available with State Health Department, the weekly TPR in Koraput (9.38%), Malkangiri (8.96%), Nuapada (8.67%), Keonjhar (7.82%), Deogarh (7.81%), Kalahandi (7.59%) and Sambalpur (5.06%).

The Red Chart

A glance at the Union Health Ministry data shows that the weekly TPR in as many as 176 districts in the country has been above 10 per cent. While Tamil Nadu with a total of over 23 districts topped the red chart nationally, Odisha ranked third with a total of 17 districts after Karnataka.

The red chart is dominated by states from south, east and northeast India. In the western parts of the country, only Rajasthan has over a dozen districts in the red zone.

The Odisha districts are Bhadrak, Jajpur, Khurda, Dhenkanal, Balasore, Puri, Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Rayagada, Angul, Nayagrah, Jharsuguda, Jagatsinghpur,Kendrapada, Boudh,Nabarangpur and Sundargarh.

Data with the State Health department reveals that Bhadrak has the highest weekly TPR of 32 per cent, which means the situation is very explosive there. The weekly TPR in Jajpur (22.65%), Khurda (20.28%), Dhenkanal (19.8%), Balasore(18.76%), Puri (16.25%), Cuttack (15.82%), Mayurbhanj (14.64%), Rayagada (13.34%), Angul (912.98%), Nayagarh (12.67%), Jharsuguda (12.20%), Boudh (11.49%), Nabarangpur (10.72%), Sundargarh (10.23%).

Unlock Strategy

“As per the risk assessment process, a group of districts is taken as a single cluster while deciding relaxations. The cluster plan is pivotal because it will limit the spread at the inter-district level. The cluster wise risk assessment shows that the districts like Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal as one green zone or cluster,” explained a high ranking official in the State Home department.

Highly placed sources inform that the three districts of Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal will be going to witness major lockdown relaxations after June 17.

“Since in western Odisha, many districts till are in red and orange zones, the cluster analysis offer little scope to the government to go for large-scale unlock in the region. The risk assessment tool shows the high potential of inter-district spread,” the senior official outlined.

And going by the State government criteria, it seems the coastal districts from Puri, Khordha to Balasore and north Odisha districts will see very little unlocking. The coastal cluster has been assigned the highest risk of spread.

What Will Open And What Not

In the green zone cluster, the government may allow the opening of the following:

• Non-essential shops

• Restaurants

• Standalone and neighbourhood shops may be allowed till 7 pm

• plumbers, electricians, garages etc may be allowed
But Curbs Will Stay on…

• Gyms

• Barbershops/parlours

• Weekly markets

• Cinema halls

• Coaching and Edu institutions

• Continuation of curbs on Marriage, gathering at public places

• Restrictions on Worship places to stay

• Shut down of Parks to continue

• Decision on malls will be taken in July

Though very little unlock will happen in red and orange zones, the only relief coming will be an extension of the relaxation hours that is capped at 6-11 am now.

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