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Odisha gears up to tackle 3rd wave

- January 6, 2022

Bhubaneswar, Jan 6

Odisha government Thursday geared up to tackle a possible third wave of coronavirus as the caseload in the contagion has surged across the country and its variant Omicron has been detected in almost all the 30 districts of the state.

State government offices will function with 50 per cent capacity from January 7 to 31 and special COVID hospitals which were operational during the second wave of the pandemic will be kept ready apart from all the government facilities, officials said.

Patients of the disease will be given free of cost treatment beginning from testing to medicines, oxygen and other requirements and dedicated COVID hospitals will be revived across the state, they said.

Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra said that since the rate of infection is the third wave has been severe in other states Odisha will be prepared to tackle it. The government will make available the required medicine, testing kits, treatment equipment and oxygen.

The general administration and public grievances department in an order said that all the departments of the state government offices will function with 50 per cent of the strength of employees from January 7 to January 31. However, officers of the rank of under secretary and above will attend office daily.

All essential offices and services like the special relief commissioner and Odisha state disaster management authority, police, fire, health and municipal services, office of the State Election Commissioner and those related to the conduct of panchayat election have been exempted from the purview of the order.

Besides, offices of all recruiting institutions like Odisha Public Service Commission, Odisha Staff Selection Commission and Odisha Subordinate Staff Selection Commission will function at 75 per cent of their strength of employees, it said.

The government has asked the departments to strictly follow all precautionary measures to prevent spread of COVID-19, the officials said.

If any government employee is found to be suffering from the infection, the office concerned will follow the government protocol.

Officers and staff, barring those with disability and pregnant women employees, who are not assigned duty on roster will have to work from home with VPN provided to them for attending regular and pending works. They must be available on telephone at all times to attend office work of urgent nature, they said.

Mohapatra held a virtual meeting with district collectors, commissioners of municipal corporations, chief district medical officers and heads of leading private hospitals and asked them to keep all their apparatus ready by the end of the week to treat COVID 19 patients.

This time the arrangements should be more as the third wave has been severe in many states, Mohapatra said.

Rapid response teams, call centres, ambulances should be readily available at all places within a week’s time, he said.

The places where dedicated COVID hospitals will be revived include Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Angul, Talcher, Puri, Ganjam, Sambalpur, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Sundergarh, Baripada, Balasore, Kandhamal, Rourkela and Gajapati, he said.

The chief secretary also asked the district authorities to ensure required number of doctors, nurses, para medics and others to deal with coronavirus patients.