Bhubaneswar | Jagran News Desk: Amid the surging number of coronavirus cases in the country, Odisha on Thursday decided to extend the lockdown till April 30, reported news agency ANI. With this, Odisha has became the first state in the country to extend the lockdown.  

The Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government has also requested the Centre not to start train and air services till April 30. It has also announced that all educational institutions in the state will remain closed till June 17.

The decision was taken during the state's cabinet meeting held via video conference earlier today.

"Coronavirus is the biggest threat that the human race has faced in more than a century. Life will not be the same ever. All of us must understand this and face it boldly together. With our sacrifice and with the blessing of Lord Jagannath, this too shall pass," Naveen Patnaik said in an official statement. 

He further said that a record of one lakh rapid testing is being planned as a preventive measure in potential hotspots.

"Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, MGNREGS related activities will be facilitated following social distancing norms and as earlier, free movement of goods transport will be allowed in Odisha," he said.

The central government had enforced a 21-day lockdown in India to control the spread of the coronavirus, saying that it was the only way to break the chain of the virus.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday had also hinted that the lockdown might get extended as the situation due to coronavirus in the country is similar to that of a "social emergency".

"The situation in the country is akin to a social emergency. The country has been forced to take tough decisions and must continue to remain vigilant. Several state governments, district administrations and experts have asked for extension of the phase of lockdown," PM Modi had said.

According to the data available at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website, the novel coronavirus has affected 42 people in Odisha. Two people have been cured/discharged or migrated while one death has been reported.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma