Meghalaya Restricts Travel, Bans Gatherings Amid Covid Spike; Offices and Schools Asked to Remain Shut

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The Meghalaya government on Wednesday announced containment of the State capital, Jowai and Tura town for 10 days, allowing only essential services to operate. The containment measures will come into effect from 5 am on May 1 and will continue till 5 am on May 10.

The decision was taken after a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma in a bid to contain the raging Covid-19 crisis in the State.

Addressing media persons, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said: "The government has decided to put in place containment measures for the Shillong urban agglomeration, Jowai town and Tura town as it was found that the spike of Covid-19 in these places is vulnerable."

He said that inter-district or intra-district movement to or from Shillong urban agglomeration, Jowai or Tura will be restricted.

"Any other travel due to emergency shall require permission from the respective deputy commissioners (DCs) concerned. However, it is advised unless necessary, movement of persons to Shillong, Jowai and Tura should not be undertaken," Tynsong said.

He also informed all public, political and religious gatherings are prohibited, except weddings and funerals are permitted subjected to adherence to protocols regulated by the respective DCs.

All educational institutions, private offices except those providing essential services are asked to remain shut during the containment period, he said. Non-essential central government institutions will also be closed down as employees of such organisations are encouraged to work from home. All sporting activities are also prohibited.

Stating that the public transport is reduced to 1/4 of the existing seating capacity, Tynsong, however, said public transport will be allowed only for those who are in need of health care and emergency services, vaccination against Covid-19 and students, teachers and staff involved in the conduct of the ongoing examinations in the State. Private vehicular movement will not be allowed.

The Deputy Chief Minister said non-essential movement is discouraged even as he warned people who are found violating the movement protocols will be subjected to penalty.

Highlighting the activities permitted during the containment period, Tynsong said essential shops are allowed to open subject to regulation and the days and timing will be fixed by the respective DCs. All construction activities are allowed including shops dealing in hardware, electrical, mobile repair shops, automobile repair shops subjected to regulation by the DCs. Banks and banking post and telegraph are allowed to open. The essential government offices will be allowed as per regulation to be made by the personnel department.

"Movement is allowed based on issuance of passes for agriculture and veterinary activities, transportation of essential commodities, goods vehicles including e-commerce services, supply of medicines and home delivery services, accredited personnel from both print and electronic media, persons engaged in construction activities, domestic workers, fire and emergency services, civil defence and others," he said.

Tynsong also informed that returnees are allowed to enter the State. "However, it is mandatory for them to follow strict protocols issued by the health department," he added. According to him, steps have also been taken to double the manpower at the entry point to further strengthen the checking mechanism.

The Deputy Chief Minister said that although there is not so much surge in the number of cases in Ri Bhoi district, the State government has authorised the deputy commissioner to take a call as per situation.

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