48-hour lockdown after unabated spike in COVID cases

SHILLONG: Capital town, which accounts for 95% of active COVID cases in the state, will come under lockdown and curfew simultaneously for 48 hours beginning Monday to enable the Government machinery to go for a vigorous contact tracing in different localities and at the same time eliminating chances of community spread of the virus.
Lockdown and curfew will remain in force in Shillong agglomeration from 6 a.m of Monday (July 13) to 6 a.m of Wednesday (July 15).
The decision was much anticipated as the city has been witnessing sudden spike in positive cases for the past few days largely due to reckless indifference of some members of public and lack of strong-handed enforcement of the protocols.
Government had earlier decided to impose penal action against violators of the protocols by levying fine of Rs 500 for not wearing mask and failure to maintain social distancing. Notification to that effect was awaited. Police has already swung in to action in parts of the town on Saturday.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in his press briefing on Saturday highlighted two distinct and worrisome characteristics of the virus which is its high transmissibility and its invisible nature (asymptomatic).
The only way to handle the spread of the virus is to understand these two important characteristics of the virus by every individual, he said.
The right understanding will lead to right behaviour among everyone by taking responsibility for their actions, both in personal and public space.
This behaviour change is possible only by strengthening the capacity of every individual by practising the necessity to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and practising hand hygiene to isolate the virus in their own space,” the chief minister said.
The government was hopeful that the lockdown would be productively used by the Community COVID Management Committees and the newly set up Behaviour Change Management Committees of various localities to inculcate awareness about the cardinal principles of behaviour change at the household level.
According to Sangma, the lockdown period will also be used for tracing the contacts of the positive persons who are in Shillong so that further spread may be contained.
“We urge everyone to strictly adhere to the lockdown so that the virus can be isolated, he said.
Earlier, the chief minister expressed concern that the rise in number of positive cases was becoming serious and some hard actions were the need of the hour.
When asked if this is community transmission, he said that it is too early to comment anything as the cases are being reported cluster wise.
“The largest cluster is BSF and 80 percent of the cases are from BSF and even other cases are being reported in clusters,” he said
On being asked if the government would bar the entry of people from outside into the state, he said that the matter was discussed but at the moment the government has decided to allow its own people to come back to the state after following strict protocols. Official records show that on an average, 140-150 people are still entering the state every day.
Stating that the situation is serious and the government needs to go for aggressive testing, he, however, expressed his optimism that the government would be able to contain the situation.
Meanwhile, Commissioner and Secretary of Health, Sampath Kumar said that as per the mathematical calculation which they have done, the state can still handle about 1.4 percent of the total population of the state if they are infected by the virus.
Five shops closed
Meanwhile, magistrates and the police officials of Madanrting police station on Saturday conducted a surprise check at Madanrting and Happy Valley areas and closed down five shops for violating the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs).
Moreover, penalty was also imposed on 10 people for not wearing face masks in public places.
Taxi and commercial vehicle drivers were also issued stern warning for violating the protocols and for not wearing face masks.

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