Naveen Patnaik cautions public on Omicron threat, districts to step up jab drive

Covid testing teams to be formed for increasing daily test target to 70,000, focus on vaccinating 18+ population

Published: 23rd December 2021 11:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd December 2021 11:30 AM   |  A+A-

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  A day after two Omicron cases were detected in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday appealed to the people of the State to strictly follow Covid appropriate behaviour and avoid crowds.

Speaking at an event organised here for launching distribution of special livelihood assistance of Rs 960 crore to 96 lakh beneficiaries covered under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), the Chief Minister cautioned people about the super mutant Covid variant. 

“We have to stay alert as the new variant is spreading very fast”, Naveen said and urged the people to wear masks, practice regular hand washing, maintain personal distance and avoid unnecessary exposure to crowds. 

On the day, Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra reviewed the situation and asked district administrations to stay prepared for combating possible spread of the new Omicron variant.  He asked all collectors, SPs, and CDMOs to be extremely vigilant, and intensify testing, vaccination, and enforcement.

Mahapatra emphasised that all people above 18 years of age need to be vaccinated. The authorities were asked to prepare village-wise vaccination charts and inform the villagers in advance through panchayat functionaries, ward members, Anganwadi workers, ASHA karmis and health workers for taking the jab on the dates assigned to them.

According to government reports, 88.2 per cent of the 18 and above age group is vaccinated with the first dose while around 66 percent of them took their second dose. Around 99.8 per cent of the healthcare and frontline workers were vaccinated.

It was decided to enhance daily testing to 70,000 and accordingly, the district targets were fixed.  The Chief Secretary directed the CDMOs to keep stock of necessary medicines, oxygen cylinders, beds, ICUs and ventilators ready in all government hospitals. The oxygen plants must be kept in good running condition. 

The Health and Family Welfare department was asked to give advance intimation to the private hospitals to remain in readiness for dealing with the situation. Collectors and SPs were asked to enforce the Covid norms and ensure that the protocols are strictly followed in social gatherings, marketplaces, industrial centers and other public places. 

Covid testing teams should be formed to undertake random testing at public places, the Chief Secretary said. All primary health centres were asked to have a rapid antigen test facility along with the provision for RT-PCR test sample collection so that people can take regular test as and when necessary. 


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