Odisha 1st will extend the lock until April 30

BHUBANSWAR: Thursday became the first state to extend the current 21 days for another fortnight until April 30, with CM Naveen Patnaik saying his cabinet made the difficult decision without waiting for the Center to move because saving lives should take precedence over everything else.

In a video message to people, Patnaik said the state would ask the Center to extend the closure to the rest of the country for the same duration and hold any plans it may have to resume train and flight services. He appears to be in favor of extending the blockade, too, he has not yet made his decision public, he said. Odisha intends to evaluate a lakh of people using rapid test kits soon.

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We will recommend to the government of India to extend the national blockade until April 30. At this crucial moment, one has to decide between protecting people's lives and economic activity, the CM said.

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However, it has called on the state government not to impose a complete ban on the movement of two-wheeled vehicles until such time as it makes basic products and medicines available to all citizens within walking distance of their homes. On Thursday, the court heard a PIL seeking the release of all vehicles seized by police for violating the blockade. Patnaik said the discipline displayed by the citizens and the sacrifices made by them during the lockdown had helped Odisha limit her Covid-19 cases to 44 and only one death so far.

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