Odisha Minister Susanta Singh Contracts Coronavirus

Odisha’s Rural Development Minister Susanta Singh has contracted the novel coronavirus, a tweet from his account confirmed on Monday. Singh is the first minister in the Odisha cabinet to have fallen victim to the coronavirus. The development comes barely a day after he presided over the Independence Day celebrations in Balasore as a chief guest.

“I have tested positive for Corona and I am stable now. Those who have come in contact with me recently are requested to stay isolated and get tested,” the minister tweeted. Along with former minister and Congress leader Prakash Debta, he had also attended the inauguration of a chowk at his native place Sohela in Bargarh district on August 9.

This development comes amidst the backdrop of rapidly rising COVID cases in Odisha. 2,244 more have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 62,294. Ten more people also died of complications arising due to the coronavirus, which took the death toll to 353. In all, the state presently has 19,611 active cases.

More cases are emerging of late as the state has considerably increased testing from around 20,000 tests a day to around 50,000 tests daily. “On Friday, the state had conducted 47,887 tests. Within five days, we have increased tests from around 20,000 to a little over 50,000. We have been able to achieve the target in spite of the logistical challenge of getting a large number of test kits,” said a state government official.