Odisha Makes COVID-19 Screening of Passengers From 12 States Mandatory

The state government’s action came a day after two passengers were tested positive for COVID-19 after they disembarked at the Bhubaneswar airport.

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government Thursday made screening of passengers coming to the state by flights and trains from 12 states mandatory as its COVID-19 tally touched 3,36,924 after 89 more people tested positive for the contagion, a senior state health official said.

Keeping in view the upsurge in COVID-19 cases in 12 states, the Odisha government alerted the authorities to take measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. The 12 states from where passengers will be screened are Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattishgarh, West Bengal, Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the official said.

The additional chief secretary to the health and family welfare department, P.K. Mohapatra said in a letter to all district collectors, municipal commissioners, directors of Bhubaneswar and Jharsuguda airport and the general manager (operation) of East Coast Railways that precautions should be taken in order to enhance surveillance in Odisha to prevent resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

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The passengers disembarking at airports/railway stations coming from or through these states will be screened by thermal screening and those found having symptoms or fever will be tested by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on-site. If found positive, they will be put in isolation and treated as per protocol, Mohapatra said. He asked the authorities to make arrangements for thermal screening of all passengers and on-site RAT testing of symptomatic passengers disembarking from the trains/flights from the identified high risk states to prevent spread of COVID-19 in Odisha.

The state government’s action came a day after two passengers were found COVID-19 positive after they disembarked at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation commissioner P.C. Chaudhury, who received the COVID-19 vaccine, said “We have set up screening and testing facilities at the airport and [are] in contact with the railways for similar facilities to screen passengers coming from other hot spots.”

Meanwhile, the state’s coronavirus toll mounted to 1,915 after one death due to the disease was reported from Bolangir district. Fifty three COVID-19 patients have died in the state due to comorbidities, he said.

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Odisha during the day also registered recovery of 67 COVID-19 patients, taking the total number of cured persons to 3,34,400, which is 99.25% of the caseload, the health department official said. The state’s case fatality ratio now stands at 0.56%, while Odisha’s positivity rate remained at 4.08%, he said.

In regard to the new cases detected in 19 of the state’s 30 districts on Thursday, the official said 53 cases were from quarantine centres and 36 local contact cases. Sambalpur district recorded the highest of 14 cases followed by 9 each from Khurda and Balasore and 8 from Sundergarh. Kandhamal and Dhenkanal turned coronavirus free as both the districts have no active COVID-19 case.

Odisha currently has 556 active cases, which is 0.16% of the caseload. The state has tested over 82.55 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 24,639 on Wednesday.