"Do not show any mercy to offenders of COVID-19 protocols, after holding awareness campaigns for two to three days. Let people understand that wearing face mask is mandatory to avoid spread of infection," the chief secretary said at a review meeting in Nuapada district.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has, meanwhile, ordered the administration to double the penalty rate for not wearing masks. People will have to cough up Rs 2,000 for the first two violations, and fine would go up to Rs 5,000 for subsequent transgressions.
Official sources said the COVID-19 situation in Nuapada district, bordering Chhattisgarh, has been categorised as "critical", after infections there recorded a five-fold jump over the past four days.
Mohapatra, along with senior officials, checked treatment facilities in the two districts, and gave assurances that steps are being taken to increase beds in ICUs and ramp up clinical examination.
The sources also said that migrant workers, who had returned to their place of work after the COVID situation improved across the country, are coming back in hordes.
State labour minister Sushant Singh said arrangements were being made for the returnees.
"Migrants are returning to Odisha from some highly- infected states. All district administrations have been asked to keep Temporary Medical Camps (TMCs) ready at the entry points to meet any eventuality. A detailed guideline for migrant workers will be issued soon, the minister stated.
Odisha on Saturday registered its highest single-day spike in 2021 with as many as 1,374 people testing positive for the infection, which further pushed the tally to 3,48,182, the health department said.
Two fresh fatalities in the coastal state raised the toll to 1,926, it added.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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