The Meghalaya government will reimpose tougher restrictions to try and nip the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the bud.
Meghalaya has shown an increase in Covid cases this month, with active infections now topping 100. The state, in recent months, had steadily loosened restrictions on offices, schools, colleges, places of worship and sports events and facemask wearing had become almost a rarity in certain parts of the state, including at election rallies led by top ministers in the government in Garo Hills.
At a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary MS Rao on Monday, details of which were revealed today, it was decided to reimpose stricter measures. Many of those listed appear to apply to Shillong in particular.
Curfew is to again be implemented in the state capital from 10pm to 5am. Not wearing a mask can lead to fines of Rs 1,000 per offence. Shops, restaurants and bars are to shut at 9pm daily.
For visitors to Meghalaya, all those coming from states other than in the North East must produce an RT-PCR, CBNAAT or TruNat negative report or be subjected to testing on entering Meghalaya.
Buses and tourist taxis entering the state from elsewhere “will proceed directly to Polo Grounds” in Shillong for Rapid Antigen Tests. Tourist taxi drivers are also to be tested regularly for Covid-19. All hotels must insist on Covid-19 negative certificates from outside guests.
In order to cope with the possibility of higher case numbers, corona care centres will be reactivated in Shillong, Nongpoh, Tura, Resubelpara, Jowai and Khliehriat. Contractual healthcare staff will also be retained for a further three months if required.
Attendance in “congregations” will be limited to 50 per cent once the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) elections take place on Monday. “Closure of schools and other educational institutions may have to be considered based on the scenarios that would unfold in the coming days,” it was also decided.
The government will also vigorously push forward on vaccinating the state’s citizens. Covid vaccination centres will open from 8am to 8pm for the convenience of the public, private Covid vaccination centres are to “increase the number of vaccination days” and districts will be given vaccine targets based on their population and capacity.