BHUBANESWAR: The Nuapada district administration intensified surveillance along border routes connecting Chhattisgarh while Jharsuguda announced the closure of village haats for three weeks as the Covid curve got steeper with the detection of 461 new cases, the highest spike in the last four months.
The last time 418 cases were recorded on December 1. Of the fresh cases reported from 24 districts, maximum of 86 infections were detected in Nuapada, followed by 69 in Khurda, 62 in Sundargarh, 36 in Kalahandi, 32 in Bargarh, 27 in Angul, 22 in Cuttack, 16 each in Balasore and Sambalpur, and 13 in Jharsuguda.
With this, the tally soared to 3,41,772 of which 3,37,212 have recovered and 1921 succumbed. The active cases now stand at 2586. The test positivity rate rose to 1.5% as the state has conducted 30,716 tests during the last 24 hours.
Five western Odisha districts -- Nuapada, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Kalahandi, and Jharsuguda -- contributed over 50% of the new cases apart from Khurda and Cuttack, where cluster outbreaks have emerged in educational institutions.
Making a statement in the Assembly, Minister of State (Home) Dibya Shankar Mishra said western Odisha has been the major contributor to the recent rising caseload. The cricket matches in Chhattisgarh led to the rise in cases. The western Odisha districts share a border with the neighbouring state.
All vehicles coming to Odisha from Chhattisgarh via Nuapada border routes were thoroughly checked to ensure compliance with Covid norms and sensitising the returnees. Police and rapid response teams have been deployed at bus stands and markets to monitor the movement of people.
Jharsuguda collector Saroj Kumar Samal said there will be no weekly haat in the district for the next three weeks. "Daily markets at different locations dealing in vegetables and non-vegetarian food items will be dispersed over multiple locations," he said and urged people to co-operate in furthering the fight against the resurgence of Covid.
Meanwhile, the Malkangiri district administration has initiated enforcement measures in the market places to contain the resurgence. While the cultural programme and large congregations have been banned, officials asked to seal business establishments violating Covid protocols.