Is Bhubaneswar’s puja festivities resulting in an increase in COVID-19 cases

BHUBANESWAR: An increase in COVID positive cases in Odisha during the festival season, particularly in Bhubaneswar is concerning.

Even though the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has launched a campaign to nearly double COVID-19 testing in the capital city by deploying 12 vans in each of the three zones ahead of the festive season, top health officials have once again urged people to stay at home and help the government prevent the spread of infections.

Prof CBK Mohanty, Director Medical Education, and Training (DMET) Directorate, Odisha, said on Wednesday that the increase in COVID-19 transmission in Khurda and Cuttack is owing to a large migration of persons from neighbouring districts.

According to the DMET, daily infections in the state are ranging around 400 to 600, with Khurda district returning to the Red Zone due to a high test positivity rate and the number of active cases.

Khurda district recorded 323 new cases out of the daily COVID caseload of 615 new infections in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases in the area to 2,535. Two of the seven deaths in the state occurred in the capital city.

It should be noted that the majority of daily COVID-19 cases are reported from Khurda district, the capital city. Odisha has a total of 5203 current cases, with 3636 instances in Bhubaneswar alone accounting for 70% of the total.

The district reported the largest number of instances in the last 24 hours, with 52.52 percent, indicating that the holiday rush and non-compliance with COVID protocol are two factors contributing to the increase.

Bijay Kumar Mohapatra, the Director of Health Services, alleged on Wednesday that the number of cases in Bhubaneswar is rising because people are failing to follow the COVID procedure. He urged individuals to behave in a COVID-compliant manner and to be cautious. 

For the next three months, the government has warned residents not to leave their homes or go to crowded locations unless necessary, as the state’s health is at stake during the festive season.

The immunisation of children, according to Mohapatra, will begin after the Centre sets guidelines in this regard and fresh vaccine stock arrives.

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