Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “The cabinet decided that saving the lives of our people is the topmost priority at this juncture.”
Bhubaneswar| Amid speculations that centre might extend the countrywide lockdown, Odisha government today in a bold move announced it has extended the lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic till April 30.
In a video statement on Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that his government has decided to extend the lockdown period in Odisha till April 30.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked the centre not to start train and air services till April 30. “Odisha cabinet decides for extension and also recommends to the union government to do the same,” the state government said in a statement.
It is the first state to do so as the number of patients infected by the novel coronavirus continues to rise across the country.
“Coronavirus is the biggest threat that the human race has faced in more than a century. Life will not be the same ever. All of us must understand this and face it boldly together. With our sacrifice and with the blessing of Lord Jagannath, this too shall pass,” Mr Patnaik said in the statement.
“I know it involves a lot of sacrifice, hardship and uncertainty but this is the only way to face this crisis… At this crucial juncture one has to decide between protecting the lives of people and economic activity,” he added.
Odisha has recorded 42 COVID-19 cases so far and two people have died due to the virus.
The lockdown, mandated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was initially for 21 days and was to end on April 14. Schools in the state will remain closed till June 17.
Odisha is among the states that have made face masks compulsory for people stepping out of their homes. The others are Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Nagaland.
In a video meeting with leaders of all parties, PM Modi reportedly said he would consult with chief ministers but by all accounts, the lifting of the lockdown “is not possible”. He will hold a meeting with chief ministers on Saturday.