BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State government is preparing to start the unlock process in the districts recording a test positivity rate of less than five per cent (pc), health experts warned that the early relaxation may prove disastrous as people continue to defy the norms even during the lockdown.
On May 30, extending the lockdown till June 17, the government had relaxed the restrictions in three districts - Nuapada, Gajapati and Sundargarh - for six hours a day besides allowing some activities which are banned in other districts. The then TPR of Sundargarh was more than 10 pc.
This time, however, the districts having a TPR of less than five pc are being considered for phase-wise relaxation.
According to the State dashboard, Jharsuguda has recorded the lowest TPR of 1.6 per cent, followed by 2.1 pc in Nuapada, 2.7 pc in Ganjam, 3.5 pc in Balangir, 3.9 pc in Sonepur, four pc each in Deogarh and Rayagada.
Barring Sundargarh and Rayagada, other districts with less than 5 pc TPR have been reporting fresh infections in two digits and the government is considering to start the unlock process in the districts having less than 500 active cases besides the low infection rate.
Microbiologist Dr Tribhuban Mohan Mohapatra suggested that the government should consider the positivity rate of at least two weeks instead of one week before planning for a graded unlock process.
“When people are not adhering to the Covid appropriate behaviour during the lockdown, how can we expect that they will follow after the norms are relaxed? The administration has to be strict on Covid norms until a sizable population is fully vaccinated. If people throng the markets like it is seen now, with relaxed norms, the third wave is imminent,” he warned.
Although the spread of infection has slowed down in Odisha, there is no let up in the fatalities as the State recorded 43 more deaths and 6,019 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours.
Of the fresh fatalities, Khurda accounted for five deaths while four each died in Angul, Cuttack, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh and three each in Bargarh, Balangir and Boudh. With this, the death toll rose to 3123.
Director of Medical Education and Training Dr CBK Mohanty said a guarded approach will be adopted to start the unlock process.
But there will be certain restrictions in areas reporting high TPR, he said and maintained that the recent fatalities are the reflection of the cases during the peak a fortnight back and it will gradually come down.