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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announces Rs 50 lakh for COVID-19 martyrs

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday announced that healthcare workers and support staff in the state who died while fighting COVID-19 would be considered ‘martyrs’ and be accorded a state funeral as well as Rs 50 lakh ex gratia compensation for their families.

“The war is being fought by doctors and healthcare workers in the frontline, assisted by a huge support service. In the absence of any cure or vaccine, those fighting the war for us are putting themselves in the front. We have a rich tradition of honouring our brave hearts who fight for the country and acknowledge their supreme sacrifice,” he said.

“The entire human race is in a fight with the coronavirus and the world has lost more than two lakh lives in a span of three months. No continent has been spared and most countries are in a state of war with this invisible enemy,” he said.

His comments came after attacks were reported on health and support workers fighting COVID-19, with incidents in BengaluruIndore and Jabalpur in the last few days alone.

“The state government in convergence with Government of India initiative will ensure that Rs50 lakh is given for all health personnel (private and public) and members of all other support services who lose their lives in the fight against COVID-19, “he said.

In addition, the families of government personnel who died would continue to receive full salaries till the time of their retirement.

On April 22, the Union government announced an ordinance amending the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and threatening strict action—including up to seven years imprisonment—for those who attack doctors and healthcare workers. Such offences will be non-bailable henceforth.

Patnaik on Tuesday said that “Any misbehaviour to them will be taken seriously and considered as an act against the State.”

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