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Cry For Covishield

Bhubaneswar: As apprehended earlier, Odisha finally faced a huge vaccine crisis despite the Centre making written assurance that there will be no shortage of does for the people of the state. 

The assurance was given by the Ministry of Health as well as Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who hails from the state that there will be no shortage of vaccine.  

However, the ground reality is something different.  Odisha Government was forced to halt  inoculation in 700 centers due to shortage of vaccines and moved the Centre seeking immediate supply of 25 lakh Covisheild doses on Wednesday. 

The state’s COVID-19 caseload surged to 3,44,647 with detection of new 791 new cases while Odisha’s coronavirus death toll mounted to 1923 with a patient succumbing to infection in Puri district.

The inoculation drive which was launched across the state on January 16, was however halted for the day due to shortage of Covishield vaccines.

“Due to shortage of vaccine, we have had to close nearly 700 vaccination centers in the state (out of over 1400 functional sites). Only 755 could be made active today,” Odisha’s Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishor Das in a SOS to Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan said.

Noting that Odisha vaccinates about 2.5 lakh people daily, the Minister said Odisha has achieved a negative vaccine wastage of -0.5 per cent which is vaccine savings of 0.5 per cent. This could be possible due to diligent and meticulous management of a valuable vaccine resource, he said.

The Minister pointed out in the letter that as of April 7 (10 am), Odisha has a stock of 5.34 lakh doses of Covisheildm, which will meet requirement of two more days. “By April 9, there will be stock-out of Covisheild vaccine in the entire state. This will adversely impact timely administration of second dose of vaccine as well as delay in vaccination of citizens (45 years and above),” he said.

The Minister also drew attention of Dr.Vardhan that this (shortage) matter has been raised repeatedly by the Additional Chief Secretary, H&FW, P K Mohapatra with Government of India in the Ministry of H&FW.

“Therefore, I would like to draw your kind attention to this matter and request you to take necessary steps for supplying at least 10 days stock which is 25 lakh doses of Covisheild vaccine to the state immediately for effective vaccination of the targeted population,” the Minister said in the letter.

Meanwhile, the state during the day registered recovery of 246 patients taking the number of cured persons to 3,38,662, which is 98.26 per cent of the caseload.

The state’s case fatality ratio (CFR) stands at 0.55 per cent while its positivity rate is 3.73 per cent, a data released by the H&FW department said.

Of the new positive cases detected on Wednesday, 459 were reported from quarantine centres and 332 detected during contact tracing.

Sundargarh district reported the highest number of fresh cases at 147, followed by Khurda (118), Bargarh (48), Cuttack (46) and Sambalpur (45).

 Active cases in Odisha jumped to 4,009 from just 694 on March 7.

The District Administration in Puri, where the iconic Shree Jagannath Temple attracts lakhs of visitors, has made it mandatory for travellers from five states to produce COVID-19 negative certificates in view of spiralling cases.

People travelling from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Kerala to the pilgrim town must produce RT-PCR negative reports at the railway station and bus terminus, a district official said.

The Odisha Police on Wednesday launched a 10-day special drive to strictly enforce the COVID safety protocols.

The State Government has started imposing night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am in Sundargarh, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput and Nabarangpur districts to contain the spread of the disease.

The state has so far conducted over 92.44 lakh sample tests for COVID-19, including 31,531 on Tuesday, and the positivity rate stands at 3.73 per cent.

Keeping in view the rise in cases, the State Government Wednesday restricted entry of visitors to Government offices in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack cities and District headquarters where infection rate is high.

Additional Chief Secretary of General Administration and Public Grievance department, Sanjeev Chopra in an order stated there shall be restriction on public access to the Government Offices. Only in extremely urgent cases, entry will be permitted in a government office based on approval of the senior-most official.

The order further stated for redressal of public grievances, intensive use of e-Abhijog portal will be made and physical meetings shall be discouraged, unless urgent and necessary. Meetings should be held online, as far as possible, the order said.

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a set of guidelines for all higher educational institutions including Plus II Colleges and Degree Colleges in the capital city and directed  authorities to ask students to vacate the hostel premise immediately who have appeared their examinations and no examination are due.

The students who are due for examination shall be asked to vacate the hostel premises as soon as their examination schedule are over with proper intimation to their parents, the BMC said.

The students who stay for their examination may be kept in the hostel premises preferably in single rooms. The institute authorities will be fully responsible to ensure COVID protocols and wellbeing of their students, the order said.

Meanwhile, the State Government Wednesday suspended physical teaching of Class IX and XI students at all schools including private and aided institutions in view of the spike of cases from April 8 till further order.