With the Covid-19 positivity rate in the state still high, the state government today decided on extending the lockdown, especially in East Khasi Hills, until at least June 21.
From being initially reluctant to impose restrictions as the second wave began, the government is now treading an extremely cautious line when it comes to lifting restrictions.
“Though the numbers are coming down in certain districts, we still cannot let our guard down because we still have not come down below the danger level. Therefore, we have decided to continue with the lockdown, at least in East Khasi Hills, where Covid is most prevalent and the numbers are the highest,” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said today.
The average number of new infections has been steadily declining in East Khasi Hills since the peak on May 24 but the case numbers are still higher here than in any other district. And while the numbers are lower in the rest of the state, the average number of cases in the other 10 districts put together is now higher than in East Khasi Hills and has plateaued of late.
The Chief Minister informed that in other districts the respective Deputy Commissioners will have the power to decide on the lockdowns there.
The decision has drawn bitter reactions from the online community in Meghalaya, with several highlighting the disastrous effect on the poor and the economy as a whole. Sangma sought to reassure the public on this.
“While continuing with the lockdown, we also understand that people’s livelihoods are being affected a lot. Therefore, the cabinet has decided today that we will allow up to 20 percent of non-essential commodity shops to be open,” the Chief Minister said.
He also said that the district administration will decide what percentage of non-essential shops to open depending on the situation.
“Some Deputy Commissioners may allow five percent or 10 percent, but in no situation will we allow more than 20 percent in any specific market area or in any locality,” Sangma added.