Bhubaneswar, May 2 (Representative) In a major decision Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today declared working journalists of the state as Frontline Covid Warriors. Approving a proposal to this effect, Mr Patnaik said the working journalists are doing a great service to the State by providing seamless news feed, making people aware of issues relating to Covid at this time and they are great support for our war against Covid. The decision of the Chief Minister will benefit 6944 working journalists of the State who have been covered under Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana.
They are getting health insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh each. Besides, an ex gratia of Rs 15 lakh is also being provided to the next of kin of journalists who die of Covid while performing duty. There has been a continuous demand from various journalist unions in the state to declare the working journalists as covid warriors. Sources said over a dozen journalists in the state have died of covid infection in the state during the second phase of covid 19.
Amid rise of covid surge in Odisha, the state government today clamped complete lockdown in the entire state for 14 days from May 5 next to contain the spread of the virus. Besides the lockdown the state will also have a complete shutdown on weekends, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said. The lockdown will be throughout the state with effect from May 5 till 5 AM of May 19 while there will be a complete shutdown on weekends starting from 6 PM Fridays to 5 AM on Mondays. Mr Mohapatra however clarified that the testing and vaccination will be continued in the places notified by the Health and Family Welfare department. All public transports,taxis, auto rickshaw and services of cab aggregators would be prohibited during the lockdown and shutdown. The government has prohibited all social, political, religious, academic and cultural functions besides gatherings have been prohibited during the lockdown. However, the people could visit the nearest grocery and vegetable shop within 500 meters of their house by walking between 6 AM to12 PM on Monday to Friday.