Odisha: Ceiling on wedding, funeral gatherings cut down in view of mutant virus | Bhubaneswar News

BHUBANESWAR: Citing the critical situation due to detection of new variant of novel corona virus, the state government on Tuesday reduced the upper limit on gatherings in marriages to 200 and in funeral to 50 people. The ceiling was 500 in both weddings and last rites earlier.
Chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra issued the order citing the necessity to strictly follow safety protocols as the state is passing thorough a “critical situation” in view of detection of new variants of SARS Cov-2.
Explaining the new variants, additional chief secretary (health) Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, when contacted, said there is no confirmation yet about the variant but the very fast spreading nature of the virus in two clusters in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack have given rise to high degree of suspicion of some mutant variety of the virus. “While a person returned from Puducherry was the one who spread the virus to around 20 people in a private college in Cuttack, another person returned from Maharashtra was behind the spurt in positive cases in XIMB Bhubaneswar where 28 were found positive,” Mohapatra said.
The Institute of Life Sciences (ILS in Bhubaneswar has been doing a genome sequencing to understand the mutant type. “We have been analysing more than 300 samples. The result should come within another day or two,” ILS director Ajay Parida said.
The government order said covid appropriate behaviour and protocols during marriages were not being scrupulously followed by the participants giving rise to apprehension of transmission of infections in such gatherings.
The government said provisions of masks, social distancing, thermal scanning and use of hand sanitizers will be mandatory in gatherings.
Instead of night curfews in more places, as was apprehended in some quarters, the government also decided to go for mini-containment zones.
The health department asked the district administrations to set up mini-containment zones wherever a cluster of cases is detected.
Police were asked to give extra attention to enforcing COVID appropriate Behaviour in public places, especially in markets, religious institutions and wedding venues.
Stating that urban areas are more vulnerable to rapid spread, the health department asked more enforcement and surveillance activities in cities.

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