The Meghalaya government on Friday extended lockdown across the state state till June 14 after the Covid-19 positivity rate continues to be a “matter of concern”. However, the state cabinet has decided to reopen some economic activities in different districts on basis of its need and depending on coronavirus situation.
“Though it has been very difficult for the people of the state, especially for Shillong and East Khasi Hills, the cabinet has decided that lockdown will continue for at least one week more (till June 14). This time the order is not only just for East Khasi Hills. We have decided that this order will be in general for the entire state (as) we have seen that the spread of the virus is now shifting towards the rural districts,” said Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma after attending the state cabinet meeting to review Covid-19 situation in the state.
He said there a large number of Covid-19 cases are being reported from West Jaintia Hills, East Jaintia Hills, West Garo Hills and some parts of South West Garo Hills and “this may be appropriate time to take actions to restrict the spread of coronavirus.”
Sangma informed though the number of Covid-19 cases are declining, but the positivity rate still remains to be in double digits, which is a “matter of concern”. “Our positivity ratio has seen a marginal decline in the past few weeks as we have seen the number of cases go down. The positivity ratio is down from 16.4 per cent to 12 per cent as of now,” he added.
The Chief Minister also informed that out of 6,110 active cases in Meghalaya, 2,119 are between the age group of 15 and 29 years and 1,781 are between the age of 30 and 44 years, which means approximately 4,000 Covid-19 cases that is 70 per cent of the reported cases are between the age of 15 and 45 years.
There are approximately 628 people who are in hospitals, of which 102 are in D category, which means they are in the ICU or under high oxygen flow, 227 category-C, 115 category-A and 184 category-B.
East Khasi Hills, including the state capital Shillong, is the worst affected district with 2,610 active Covid-19 cases as on Friday. A lockdown to combat coronavirus spread was first imposed in the East Khasi Hills district on May 5, which was later extended several times.
Hoping that the Covid-19 situation will improve once this lockdown period gets over, Sangma said, “Early to say but it looks like if we can control things in the next one week, if we all work together, if we all are committed and we all simply bear this next one week, I am sure that in the coming week after that, we should be able to see things improving drastically.”
Urging the citizens to extend support and cooperation to the state government, he said that the unlocking process of lockdown can only start if people of Meghalaya will ensure that “the cases are below the danger mark”.
“Therefore, I urge all the citizens to please bear, cooperate and follow the protocols as this is the best way to keep our people, our friends, our loved ones safe and ensure we are able to come back to normalcy soon,” he appealed.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister informed that the government has also decided to allow the Deputy Commissioners to open up economic activities on a need basis. “The Deputy Commissioners are given the liberty to allow those need based activities, which does not involve gatherings, to open up in the coming week apart from those already opening up in this current week.” he said.
He also said that the Deputy Commissioners were asked to take the recommendations from the SDOs and BDOs for allowing rural activities depending on the prevalence Covid-19 rate in their respective districts.
“It is a model where we continue with the lockdown and at the same time allow economic activities,” he said.
Moreover, the Meghalaya government has also decided to allow churches and other places of worship to perform basic ritual activities without involving people. This was taken based on a special request made by certain church leaders, Sangma informed.