Lockdown: 404 Cases Registered for Violation of Regulations in Odisha, Newspapers Included in List of Essential Services

Bhubaneswar, Mar 26 (PTI) The Odisha Police on Thursday said as many as 404 cases have been registered for violation of regulations and guidelines related to COVID-19 during last 48 hours while the number of novel coronavirus positive case remained static at two in the state.

Out of the 404 cases registered, 380 cases were related to violation of lockdown norms, 10 cases related to violation of home quarantine and 14 cases on other issues related to COVID-19 incidents, said state governments chief COVID-19 spokesperson Subroto Bagchi.

Bagchi said till noon on Thursday, 164 samples were sent for COVID-19 examination and reports of all samples have been obtained.

No new positive case has been found. Therefore, the number of positive cases stands at 2, he said, adding, both of them are stable and asymptomatic.

The patients are taking normal diet supplied by the respective hospitals, he said, adding that 55 persons had come in contact with the COVID-19 patients and all have been contacted.

A total number of 4,249 persons have registered through 104 Helpline and portal after returning from abroad while 34 persons are in isolation wards of hospitals, he said.

Referring to the chief ministers appeal to the people of Odisha to take a pledge - 'Mo Jeevan'- to keep their families safe, Bagchi said so far 10 lakh people have taken the pledge and 3 lakh people out of them have sent, the video of them taking the pledge, to the chief minister.

He also said that a helpline has been opened with phone no 0674-2620200 which will be opened from 8 am to 10 pm every day so that drivers and transport operators can approach the helpline for guidance regarding remedial action.

The government spokesperson also said that veterinary services have been included in the list of essential services.

District fisheries officers, chief district veterinary officers and urban local bodies have been authorised to issue vehicle passes for personnel involved in the supply of milk, meat, egg, fish and livestock feed.

Meanwhile, with several daily newspapers in Odisha stopping print editions and managing with digital version editions due to the lockdown, the state government on Thursday announced certain relaxations and declared newspapers as essential services.

Vehicles carrying the newsprints and newspapers are allowed to ply without any obstruction, state governments COVID-19 Spokesperson Subroto Bagchi said.

The counters selling newspapers will operate from 7 am to 8 am hawkers will be allowed to collect and distribute newspapers between 4 am and 7 am every day.

Bagchi also said that people engaged in newspaper production and distribution are advised to maintain social distancing.

He said the Information and Public Relations Department has issued advisory in this regard.

KC Swain, a leader of the newspaper hawkers, said, "We are also human beings and fear the virus. We as a community do not have any social security. Still, we are ready to distribute the papers."

But the hawkers do not have passes to move around and distribute the papers in the city during the lockdown, he added.

"It has not been possible to reach our daily at people's doorstep in major urban centres like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore and Dhenkanal as hawkers face difficulty in movement due the lockdown. We are selling the paper from more than a dozen of stands in Bhubaneswar," Samaja General Manager (working) Priyabrata Mohanty said.

The challenges of coronavirus spread notwithstanding, The New Indian Express is continuing with its print and online editions in Odisha as per the management's ethos of ensuring uninterrupted dissemination of news to the readers, said N Kaleswar Rao, AGM, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

"The Government of India has declared print, electronic and online media as essential services. We will continue to honour our commitment to our readers," Rao said.

Leading English daily the Times of Indias Bhubaneswar edition stopped publication only on Sunday due to the nationwide Janata Curfew, the newspaper's circulation head of Odisha, Dilip Mohanty, said.

"Though we are publishing the edition thereafter, our circulation has come down by around 80 per cent as vendors are not lifting the papers due to the misconception that coronavirus may get transmitted through the newspapers, he said.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)