Shillong: Amid a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, the Meghalaya government has imposed several restrictions to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As per the new instructions, all schools — from Nursery to Class 12 — will remain closed from Tuesday until further notice. However, exams of Class 10 and 12 will continue as per schedule.

Now, there will also be restrictions on tourists coming to Meghalaya for 14 days starting from April 23.

These restrictions have come at a time when the rise in COVID-19 cases in Meghalaya has been six times higher compared to the first wave of the coronavirus.

“Within 25 days, we reached 680 cases. Whereas last year, it took us 114 days to reach the same number. The situation is serious,” said Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

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The decision to impose the restrictions were taken at a meeting between the CM, health department and cabinet ministers on Monday to contain the situation.

“All these restrictions are only for Shillong. However, if the cases increase in other places, the district administration will have to bring in these restrictions,” said an official.

Across the state, tourist spots will remain open and locals will still be able to visit them, but the District Administration can decide which can be opened. The DC will look at tourist spots and will ensure no overcrowding.

The CM informed that private offices will function at 50% capacity and work from home has been suggested. Likewise, government offices will also follow 50% restriction. However, banks, post offices and other essential department will function at full capacity.

Shops and commercial activities will continue as normal but they will have to follow COVID-19 protocols and closure notification will be given if anyone is found violating protocols.

Sangma added that the government will review the situation for shops and other commercial establishments after 7 days.

Restaurants and eateries will remain open but with 50% seating capacity, and takeaway should be encouraged.

Roadside market will be allowed to open inorder to avoid overcrowding in commercial areas.

Public gathering will be stopped for next 14 days, but exceptions will be made for weddings and social gathering. However, restriction will be imposed on gathering in funerals.

The government has made RT-PCR test mandatory for any person entering Meghalaya and RAT for people coming in from other Northeast states.

“We will not opt for lockdown since we want to balance the economy and safety of the people. Though this may change depending on the situation,” said Sangma.

The chief minister urged people to avoid overcrowding and going to crowded places. He informed that focus on vaccination programme will continue aggressively.

Further, the government has ensured that there is enough stock of materials to tackle COVID-19.

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