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In a bid to break the chain of the Covid-19 infection in the state, the Odisha government has announced a night curfew in Bhubaneswar. The restrictions will be in place starting 9 pm Saturday till 5 am daily until further orders.

All essential services and supply of essential commodities including medical services, and others are allowed, Commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has said.

The Odisha government had earlier announced a weekend shutdown in 10 districts bordering Chhattisgarh where the number of active coronavirus cases crossed the one lakh mark.

The restriction will be in place in Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Nabarngpur, Koraput and Malkangiri from Saturday, Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra said.

Govt extends night curfew in all urban areas

The government has also extended the night curfew in all urban areas of the state from the 10 western Odisha districts implemented on 5 April.

Despite stringent measures taken by the state government, the number of coronavirus cases has increased in the 10 districts in the last two weeks, and a surge in Covid-19 infections has also been witnessed in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and other urban areas during the period, the chief secretary said.

"The government has decided to impose night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am in urban areas in 20 other districts, where no such restriction is in place at present," he added.

Timing for the night curfew in the 10 districts, where the restriction is already in place, has been extended by three hours.

Instead of 10 pm to 6 am, these districts, both in urban and rural areas, will have night curfews from 6 pm to 5 am from Saturday, the official said.

"There will be no such restriction at night in rural areas of the 20 other districts," he added.

Mohapatra said essential services, including water supply and healthcare, will be exempted from the purview of night curfew.

No passes will be issued but workers and employees involved in the delivery of emergency services need to carry their identity cards while travelling during the restricted hours at night.

The curbs will be in place to restrict the movement of people, not commercial vehicles, Mohapatra said.

The government has already suspended bus services from Odisha to Chhattisgarh and will start cancelling permission for all inter-state services from April 19, the official said.

The fresh restrictions will help check the spread of the disease, the chief secretary said, adding that the government has already announced the postponement of all board examinations.

He urged people to follow Covid-19 norms and maintain social distancing norms in public places.

Meanwhile, Odisha reported 3,108 new Covid-19 cases, 837 recoveries and three deaths in the last 24 hours, according to a state health bulletin.

With this, the total number of cases has gone up to 3,61,450. There were 16,889 active cases in the state till Thursday while a total of 3,42,570 persons have recovered from the disease.

The death toll due to Covid-19 in the state stood at 1,638.

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