Covid-19 cases surge in Odisha as testing up after Cyclone Yaas

Odisha June01, (KMS): After an initial decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state amidst Cyclone Yaas, the numbers surged again as Odisha ramped up testing. On Sunday, the state reported 9,541 cases and on Monday 8,313 cases were reported with 35 more deaths.

Apart from the six districts that recorded more than 500 cases, the districts that are emerging as areas of concern include Jajpur, Bhadrak, Boudh, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Dhenkanal and Koraput, four of them affected by Cyclone Yaas.

On May 28, the state had tested 48,000 samples, the numbers have increased to 66,000 at present. Officials said that after evacuees began returning to their homes from shelter homes, new clusters have emerged in these districts.

However, thousands of people are yet to return to their houses as many villages are still marooned after inundation and heavy rainfall. Over 6 lakh people were evacuated to relief shelters ahead of the cyclone.

In the four coastal districts — Bhadrak, Balasore, Jagatsinhpur and Kendrapara — around 25 villages have been declared as containment zones.

In the past two days, Balasore has added 754 new cases, Bhadrak has added 581 new cases, Jagatsinhpur has added 579 new cases and Kendrapara has added 445 new cases.

In Jagatsinhpur, coastal villages of Gadaharispur were declared a containment zone till June 4.

Erasama Block Development Officer Kailash Behera said, “Around 32 shelters were identified with a capacity of 1,000 persons in the block. But as the cyclone approached, apart from those whom we evacuated many people left homes and took shelter fearing for the worst. We had over 8000 people in nearly 150 buildings.”

In the same block, after the cyclone, 14 people, including the panchayat executive officer and the gram rozgar sevak, who had undertaken the evacuation process, tested positive for Covid-19.

The Odisha government has announced that all the evacuees will be screened for Covid-19. “We have asked all respective collectors to specifically focus on the cyclone-hit villages. The positivity rate in the state has gone down overall, which is a good sign. But we are on alert in these districts and containment process will also be put in place as and when needed to keep the situation under control,” said PK Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department.

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