There has been a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases for the fourth consecutive day
The Odisha Government on Friday directed a halt to physical classes in all colleges and universities from January 10 in view of rising COVID-19 cases.
The 12th century Shree Jagannath temple in Puri will also remain closed from January 10 to 31. Some priests and staff of the temple administration have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
“The authorities should take all appropriate measures for conducting classes through online or virtual mode. All hostels in such academic institutions should also remain closed with effect from January 10,” the government said in the newly issued guidelines.
The guidelines advised students to avoid staying in the hostel in the interest of their personal health. Scholars, researchers and students who wanted to stay in hostels for research or project work or other academic activities are to be permitted with undertakings.
The government has allowed offline examinations to be held according to a pre-scheduled programme, but with adherence to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
The directive said: “The State is passing through a critical stage of COVID-19 pandemic due to resurgence of COV1D-19 in some parts of the State and it is necessary to strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols for containment of spread of the infection.”
For the fourth consecutive day, there has been a rapid rise in cases. The State’s COVID-19 graph has shot up by 42.48% in the past 24 hours. The week’s growth in COVID-19 cases is estimated at 800%.
State Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kisore Das too has tested positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic and in home isolation.
The government has made seven days of home isolation mandatory for all air passengers landing in Bhubaneswar.
Congress leader Narasingha Mishra batted for the postponement of the forthcoming Panchayat and urban body polls in the State. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had earlier left it to State Election Commission to take the final call on holding local body elections. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said that if COVID-19 cases increased in high numbers and required the government’s full attention, it would not be averse to the postponement of the election.
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