Bhubaneswar: As part of a new strategy for quick detection of coronavirus cases, the Odisha government will be conducting tests of 5,000 samples collected from COVID-19 hotspots in the state capital in the next seven days.
The tests will be done on the basis of priority parameters set by the Health and Family Welfare department, Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy said at a media briefing here.
The samples will be collected from three categories of people who are at risk because of the deadly virus, he said.
Category-1 includes people having travel history to foreign countries or to any corona hotspot within the country, persons having flu symptoms, people who have come in contact with identified COVID-19 patients, and persons having severe acute respiratory illness (SARI).
Police personnel, those engaged in the health sector, and sanitation workers are included in the second category.
The third priority category will have senior citizens and people having other diseases, the chief secretary said.
The testing will be done in camps and mobile vans, he said.
Mentioning that Bhubaneswar has a population of over 10 lakh people, the chief secretary said, the state capital has so far reported 46 of the states total 60 COVID-19 positive cases.
“Therefore, testing on a massive scale needs to be done in the city,” he said.
Seeking cooperation of the people in this drive, Tripathy said, if a vulnerable person falling in the priority list resists, the government may be forced to involve the police.
He said the government has already requested resident welfare associations and senior members of puja committees to cooperate with the government in conducting the tests.
At the same time, he assured people that the government will provide the best treatment possible if anyone is found to be COVID-19 positive.
The chief secretary pointed out that so far, the government has conducted tests of 1,958 samples in Bhubaneswar of which 2.4 per cent tested positive for coronavirus infection.
He said the government has meanwhile expanded test facilities for COVID-19 across the state and also in Bhubaneswar.
The chief secretary also said, “Since it has been decided to relax economic activities from April 20, we want the process also to begin in Bhubaneswar as it is one of the main commercial centres in the state.”
On the ban of spitting in public places, Tripathy said spitting in public places is now an offence in Odisha according to COVID-19 regulations.
Penalty of Rs 200 will be slapped for the first three offences and the fine amount will be Rs 500 for subsequent violations.