PTI- In a bid to boost the morale of doctors working to combat coronavirus, the Odisha government on Tuesday announced that it is increasing their retirement age by three years to 65.

The doctors working under Odisha Health and Medical Service and Allopathic Insurance Medical Officers under Labour and Employees State Insurance Department will now retire at the age of 65, instead of the existing 62.

The decision was taken at a review meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through a video conference here.

Odisha has reported a total of 18,757 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths due to the virus. A total of 12,910 patients have recovered from the disease.

Patnaik also reviewed the prevailing coronavirus situation in Khurda and Cuttack and announced Rs 15 crore for the districts for better COVID-19 management.

Apart from this, the government has sanctioned Rs 20.64 crore from Chief Minister”s Relief Fund for running new dedicated COVID hospitals and COVID Care Centres for the next three months in these two districts.

Though above one lakh people have returned from outside to Khurda and Cuttack, out of whom many found infected, the virus remained under control. Khurda recorded recovery rate of 70 per cent and Cuttack 71 per cent which is much above the national average of 63 per cent.

“I appreciate the teams in both these districts for achieving a higher recovery rate,” Patnaik said.

For the state capital of Bhubaneswar which comes under Khurda district, Patnaik sanctioned a 150-bed (including 30 bed ICU) dedicated COVID Hospital by Aditya Ashwini Hospital, and another one at Nilanchal Hospital with 126 beds and 15 ICU beds. These two hospitals will be made operational this week, an official said.

Patnaik said, “Slum committees have been working well. The BMC (Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation) will incentivise the good work done by these committees.”

It was decided to expand the health infrastructure in Cuttack to take care of mounting cases and as many as 925 additional beds in COVID hospitals and COVID Care Centres are being established in the district, the official said.

It was also decided in the meeting that special focus will be given on congested areas in Cuttack city through active involvement of local communities, training and information centre on COVID-19 at SCB Medical College, an official statement by the CMO said. 

It will also be through upgradation of the Molecular Genome Lab in SCB, Cuttack, for viral and human host genome sequencing for predicting prognosis of infected patients, it said.

Patnaik has also appealed to all community organisations and corporates to set up COVID Care Homes and COVID Care Centres to join the fight against COVID-19.