BARGARH: Amid mounting COVID-19 cases, the traders' association and citizen committee of Sohela block have called for voluntary shutdown of shops and business establishments for five days from May 1 to 5.
In the last 10 days, Sohela block, which shares borders with Chhattisgarh, has reported 369 positive cases of which 50 were detected on Friday. Currently, 290 cases are active in the block. The decision to shut down markets was taken in view of the movement of a large number of people across the border for trade purposes.
Joint secretary of traders' association Aswini Patra said, "In the current scenario, ensuring safety of locals is more important than business. Many blocks have called for shut down recently and we too decided to close down all business activities voluntarily to stem the virus spread. We have also apprised the administration about our decision."
Block development officer (BDO) Sohela Biswaranjan Kar said that COVID cases are rising rapidly. Though the administration has put in place stringent measures to check cross-border movement of people, the traders and citizen committee proposed to close down markets for five days. The shutdown will come into force across all the 128 villages of the block, he added.
Meanwhile, the Bargarh administration has set up a checkpoint at Luhurachati in Sohela to restrict movement of people at the border. People coming to Odisha from Chhattisgarh are being asked to produce RT-PCR negative report of not earlier than 72 hours or final vaccination certificate.
Those without the reports are being told to give an undertaking stating that they would stay in quarantine after reaching their destination for 15 days. Paikmal, Gaisilet and Padampur blocks have been already shut down by the traders.