The Meghalaya government has announced a five-day total lockdown in East Khasi Hills district and weekend lockdown for the other districts to arrest the uncontrollable surge of COVID-19 cases in the state.
The decision was taken at a review meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday.
“The government has decided that there will be a complete lockdown in East Khasi Hills district from 8pm of May 5 till 5 am of May 10. This means that the containment period that is left for five days is being converted into a lockdown mode. Therefore, more restrictions are coming in,” Sangma told reporters.
He said the number of active cases has breached 2,000 of which Shillong is having a positivity rate of 17 percent while East Khasi Hills has a COVID-19 positivity rate of 12 percent.
In Shillong, the total number of occupancy in terms of bed capacity has reached 60 percent, he said adding “We are looking at a very serious situation and therefore, a number of other steps will be taken to contain the situation.”
“Although, containment and restrictions that we have brought in Shillong and East Khasi Hills has somewhat brought down the movement of people, has somehow slowed down the process of transmission, has led to lesser gathering of people but looking at the alarming rate at which the numbers are growing, we need to go for stricter measures in some locations where the numbers are rising,” he added
Stating that the cases are also rising in other districts, the chief minister said after carefully monitoring the situation, the government has decided to impose weekend lockdown in other 10 districts of the state in order to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Sangma further announced that examinations that were scheduled on May 6 and 7 in the state are being postponed to May 11 and 12.
The state government has also decided to ban inter-state and inter-district movement of people during the lockdown period.
“Vehicular movements will be restricted. Inter-state movement of persons in all parts of the state will be restricted. Inter-district of persons from and to East Khasi Hills will be restricted,” he said.
The chief minister said All major markets in East Khasi Hills including Shillong will be closed during this period but essential goods will be made available through shops in the localities and home delivery services will be permitted.
Movement of agricultural produce and inputs in East Khasi Hills will be regulated by the deputy commissioner.
He said weddings that have already been permitted may be held but it will be restricted to only family members and the number shall not exceed 20 people.
Similarly, funerals will be restricted to 20 persons but prior permission will have to be taken from concerned authorities
During this five-day lockdown period, health services including vaccination programmes will be exempted. All essential services like electricity, water, supply security etc, movement of essential goods, print and electronic media will also be exempted.
Stating that the next few days will be crucial for the state, the chief minister said the reason why the government needs to go for some strict measures is because taking a decision at a later stage would only be making the situation worse.
“If you recall I have mentioned that as we come closer to the 5,000 active case number, it will start putting a lot of stress on our healthcare. Therefore, today we are at 2,000 and we don’t want to take a chance of coming anywhere close to the 5,000 figure and that is the reason why today at 2,000 we are taking this step for the containment when have touched 1,000 and today we are going for a complete lockdown here in East Khasi Hills as we have breach almost close to 1,200 and of these, 800 to 900 are in Shillong itself.
Therefore, these measures are required and I request our citizens to please cooperate with us and ensure these next five days we work carefully to ensure that this virus does not spread any further,” he said.