CUTTACK: All Covid norms went for a toss at cyclone shelters in the city with 12,124 people sheltered in 26 facilities. In view of the very severe cyclone Yaas, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) on Tuesday had evacuated about 2,824 families residing in low lying areas in and around the city and sheltered them in 26 alternative cyclone shelters set up at different schools.
Highest 854 people were evacuated from Kathajodi Vihar slum. Though the civic body had decided to go for screening of people before putting them up in cyclone shelters to check the spread of Covid, CMC failed to implement it.
Due to lack of enforcement activities, the Covid guidelines were found to have been grossly violated at cyclone shelters. While the norm of social distancing was thrown to the wind, most of the people were not wearing masks. Besides, the civic body officials had made no effort to educate the people who are mostly illiterate, about Covid appropriate measures.
“Non-adherence of Covid appropriate behaviour in the cyclone shelter will no doubt increase the risk for spread of Coronavirus in the city and the slums may turn into Covid hotspots,” said president of Akhila Odisha Jhopadi Patti Mahasangha Brundaban Das Azad while blaming the inefficiency of the CMC in ensuring the Covid guidelines at the shelters. CMC Commissioner Ananya Das, however, said slum dwellers having no symptoms were evacuated to the cyclone shelters.
But all the symptomatic patients who were undergoing treatment in home isolation were admitted to Covid care centres (CCCs). “After getting instructions from SRC office, we let the evacuees go as the weather condition has already improved,” she said. Around 75 per cent of the evacuees have returned to their home by the evening. Health experts, however, have raised concern as 80 per cent of positive cases are asymptomatic. Shifting of only symptomatic patients to CCCs will not contain the spread of the highly contagious infection in cyclone shelters, they said.