New Delhi: The Odisha government on Saturday announced a series of additional measures, including shutdown of 40% of the state for a week, from March 22, in a bid to contain the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Rows Of Burning Pyres In Lucknow Showcase Corona Tragedy

Thus far, two positive cases of coronavirus have been reported from Odisha. Also Read - Time For Quick Restrictive Lockdown, Says Dr Naresh Trehan As Covid Cases Rise Sharply

As part of the additional measures, the state government today announced, that on directions of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, 40% of the state, including capital Bhubaneswar, would be under lockdown for a week, starting Sunday. This ‘40%,’ in all, comprises five districts and eight major towns, the government said. Also Read - Coronavirus Update | India Registers Biggest Spike in COVID Infections With Over 2 Lakh New Cases

Notably, of the 3,200 foreign returnees to the state, 70% are from these five districts. Also Cuttack, the second-largest city in the state after Bhubneswar, too, would come under the lockdown.

The government further stated that airports, railway stations and bus stands would be exempted from the lockdown. Additionally, all service providers ,including private sector,engaged in COVID-19 relief services, were declared as ‘Emergency Workers.’

Earlier, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, the government had banned gatherings of more than seven persons across the state. It had also ordered immediate closure of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, canteens and other eateries, as well as liquor shops, until further orders.

Additionally, it had announced an ‘Odd-Even’ scheme, on the lines of the one from Delhi, to contain the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic. However, it would apply only on public transport vehicles like buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws.