Odisha govt prohibits congregations on Makar Sankranti

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Amid surge in Covid-19 cases in the state, the Odisha government has prohibited congregation at river banks, ghats, sea shore and other water bodies on Makar Sankranti or Pongal (January 14), said a government order on Tuesday.

On the occasion of Makar Sankranti or Pongal, usually a large number of people congregate at river banks, ghats, ponds, sea shore or near other water bodies to take holy bath and perform puja. Makar Mela is also organised in some districts of the state. Such congregations have potential for the spread of Covid-19 infections, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P.K. Jena said in the order.

So, the government has prohibited congregations at water bodies throughout the state. Celebration of Makar Mela is also strictly prohibited, he said.

All religious places will remain closed for the public on that day. However religious rituals are allowed with bare minimum priests, servitors and staff. Religious congregations are also strictly prohibited, Jena said.

The SRC has advised the people to perform the Makar Sankranti rituals/puja at home with family members only avoiding mass gatherings and adhering to the Covid-19 safety protocols.

All the district collectors, municipal commissioners and police have been directed to strictly enforce this order.

“Any person found violating this order shall be punished under the provision of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws,” warned the SRC.

The Covid-19 cases in Odisha on Tuesday increased to 7,071 from 4,829 cases reported on the previous day. With this highest single-day Covid-19 spike in 2022, the daily test positivity rate jumped to 10.2 per cent from 6.5 per cent recorded on Monday.

According to the Information and Public Relation department, 4,128 out of 7,071 new cases were reported from the quarantine centres while 2,943 were local contact cases. As many as 707 positive persons are in the age group of 0 to 18 years. Now, the active caseload in the State stands at 27,216.

Meanwhile, the state government has confirmed the death of a person from Bolangir district due to Covid-19, pushing the death toll to 8,469.

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