Odisha stares at migrant crisis amid surge in Covid cases

Health experts have advised govt to accelerate the vaccination drive in the State.

Published: 05th April 2021 07:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2021 12:13 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Amid the surge in Covid cases and return of workers from high-risk states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, Odisha is once again staring at a migrant crisis. While quarantine centres and Covid care homes were set up at panchayats last year to deal with the returnees, the State government is yet to take a call on the impending crisis that may put the health administration on its toes once the migrants start arriving in hordes. While the Centre has already announced 11 high-risk states that have been contributing 90 per cent of the total daily caseload and 93 per cent of fatalities, the State has not yet made isolation mandatory for people returning from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.  

The seven-day home isolation imposed since February is applicable for arrivals from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Health experts have advised the government to impose stricter restrictions in urban areas and ensure enforcement of Covid norms to check the rapid surge in new Covid-19 cases besides resuming quarantine centres at panchayats in a staggered manner. If reports from districts are to be believed, the returnees from the affected states are responsible for the recent rise in new cases in the districts apart from close proximity of some areas with Chhattisgarh, one of the worst hit states. “The mandatory isolation of returnees from Chhattisgarh has not yet been enforced by the border districts leading to the spurt in cases since mid-March,” admitted a district official.     

As part of precautionary measures though Ganjam has issued a set of guidelines mandating RT-PCR test in case of Covid-like symptoms among the returnees, it has allowed home isolation which the health experts claim would help in spread of the infection among family members especially in villages where the majority of households have joint families.“The night curfew imposed from 10 pm to 5 am is meaningless. The government should consider imposing the restrictions on movement from 5 pm to 5 am apart from weekend shutdown without affecting economic activities. RT-PCR test should be made mandatory for all returnees irrespective of their health condition after entry into the state - be it at airport or railway station,” suggested senior Internal Medicine Specialist Dr Niroj Mishra.

Health experts have also advised the government to accelerate the vaccination drive in the State and demanded that the Centre should allow people aged 18 years and above to get the jab. Senior gastroenterologist Prof Manoj Sahu said the new Covid clusters in the State first emerged at the educational institutions as the 18 plus group got infected in large numbers. “The government should open up vaccination for all and make sure both the vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin are available in all districts so that people can have a choice. Community vaccination drive can also be started to cover more people,”  Prof Sahu suggested. As many as 8.57 lakh migrants had returned to the State after the lockdown imposed in March last year, fuelling Covid cases during the first wave. 

Over 1.67 lakh get jab
Bhubaneswar: The number of vaccination dropped below the daily target of two lakh as only 1,242 sessions could be held on Sunday instead of over 1,400. As many as 1,67,034 doses were administered taking the total doses in the State to 33,04,732. While 1,17,165 people aged 45 years and above got the first dose and 460 second dose, 43,205 senior citizens were administered first dose and 5,310 second dose. Among others, 194 healthcare and 700 frontline workers were also vaccinated. Two adverse events following immunisation cases were reported in the State. “We would plan more than two lakh doses once again from Monday onwards. The vaccine stock would last only two days,” said a health official.  


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