Taking into consideration the increasing Coronavirus cases in the country, the Odisha government on Tuesday decided to grant commuted leaves to its employees above 50 years of age with specific health conditions.
"The government has granted commuted leave, without producing medical certificates to its employees above 50 years, having conditions like diabetes, respiratory problems, renal diseases, heart diseases and other life-threatening illnesses up to April 4," the government said in an official statement.
The special secretary to the state government has also penned a letter to heads of all departments, collectors, and RDCs in this regard. According to the official Health Ministry records available on Tuesday, the state of Odisha has reported 2 positive Coronavirus cases.
Earlier on March 22, the Odisha government had decided to impose a lockdown in the state till 9 pm on March 29. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday had urged people to stay at home and step out only for essential services.
"If you go out - you risk bringing the virus to your family. The administration will take tough action on anyone violating this and risking their lives, their family members and people of Odisha," the Chief Minister said.
In a bid to convince people to stay indoors and follow lockdown norms to beat the highly infectious novel Coronavirus, the Odisha government sought to invoke religious sentiments of 4.5 crores Odias by highlighting how Lord Jagannath also quarantines himself for 14 days before the annual Rath Yatra.
Odisha government's Chief Spokesperson on COVID-19, Subroto Bagchi, highlighted the 'Anasar' ritual of Lord Jagannath and encouraged people to go for isolation saying that 'Anasar' or home quarantine was an intrinsic part of the Odia culture and tradition which all should follow.
"The Lord of the universe catches a cold and therefore keeps himself in Anasara. The people now face novel coronavirus," Bagchi said.
(With inputs from ANI)