GANGTOK: Sikkim government offices will remain shut till May 7 amid rising COVID-19 cases in the state. The government clarified it was not announcing a lockdown.

The Sikkim government had earlier announced closure of its offices until April 30. However, considering the trend of 100+ COVID-19 positive cases in the state each day, Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay announced an extension to the closure of all government offices on Thursday.

Golay, who was inaugurating the Suswastha Yojana facilitation centre at the Old STNM Hospital on Thursday, said, “We will be shutting down government offices from May 3 to May 7, as there has been a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in Sikkim. It is an attempt at breaking the chain of COVID-19 spread here.”

Also read: Sikkim: Lachung Dzumsa doesn’t want tourists amid COVID-19 surge

The CM, however, said the state cannot afford to go for a complete lockdown.

“Many small businesses depend on everyday sales to survive. A complete lockdown will impact those very much. Many businesses and tourism stakeholders have requested us to not go for a complete lockdown,” Golay said.

The CM added that the state’s economy will come to a standstill in case of a lockdown.

“Hence, steps like shutting government offices seem to be a convenient solution for now,” he said.

Also read: Sikkim: How STNM Hospital edges with its oxygen supply

In Sikkim, there are over 50,000 government and PSU employees and curtailment of their movement from different places will aid the state in controlling the spread of the virus. This is also curb the movement of people who need to visit the government offices for various works. It is understood that such curtailment of movement and contact will help Sikkim in flattening the curve.

The decision came a day after Sikkim recorded it’s all time highest number of COVID-19 cases with 151 cases reported on April 28. At present, there are 1,106 active cases in the state.

Also: In pics: Sikkim’s COVID-19 hospital is flooded, literally



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