Shillong: After reviewing the COVID-19 situation in Meghalaya, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday said his Cabinet has decided to extend the lockdown, at least in East Khasi Hills District, till June 21. The Cabinet has given the power to decide on extending lockdown in other districts to the respective Deputy Commissioners.
Taking note of the lockdown-induced hardships in Meghalaya and its effect on livelihoods, the Cabinet has decided to allow 20% of non-essential commodities and services to open in different areas of the state. The SOPs for the same will be decided by the DCs and notified.
Sangma visited Jowai on Friday to take stock of the current Covid-19 situation in West & East Jaintia Hills. He said additional health infrastructure and testing facilities are being created to aid the Covid management efforts in both the districts.
The Meghalaya CM said that though the numbers are plateauing and coming down in some districts, they still cannot let their guards down. The decision to extend the lockdown in East Khasi Hills had to be taken because the Covid-19 numbers in the district still aren’t below the danger level, Sangma said.
Explaining how the 20% of non-essential shops can be opened, the CM said, “Some DCs may decide that only 5% shops should be open in some areas. They may decide to open 10% shops in other areas; but under no circumstance will they allow more than 20% of the shops to be open in any specific market area or locality.”
The Cabinet has authorised DCs with the power to not allow any of the market to open in case they feel the situation is not conducive to ease restrictions on non-essential commodities and services.
The DCs will be allowed to issue commercial permits to ply depending on the areas up to 20%. Public gatherings will not be permitted.
Sangma said that the DCs will have the power to not allow any of these to happen by opting for 0% of non-essential and commercial vehicles to work. For districts like West Jaintia Hills, where the positivity rate is still high at 33%, the Meghalaya Cabinet suggested that a certain degree of lockdown must continue.