More counters to ease rush at Umling entry gate: Dy CM
SHILLONG, April 20: The Meghalaya government has directed the Health department to open more counters for reducing the rush at the Umling entry point where the process of testing and registration of people entering the state has been taking a long time.
A similar instruction has been given for the entry points at Ratacherra in East Jaintia Hills district and Bajengdoba in North Garo Hills district, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told The Shillong Times on Tuesday.
He admitted the Umling gate continues to be beset with problems four months after it became functional, delaying the movement of inbound residents.
The entry gate has also been faulted for having too few COVID testing counters for a large number of returnees, leading to the demand for the opening of more counters to reduce the rush and also to cut the waiting time for people entering the state.
A counter currently takes about half an hour to conduct the rapid antigen test at Rs 250 per head on four passengers in each tourist cab. The time taken for a 10-passenger SUV is more.
Tynsong deflected a question on the strain of the novel coronavirus being detected in the state. “It is not a question of whether the virus is of the old or new strain but the percentage of infection, which is alarming and dangerous,” he said.
“We will keep on coming up with new restrictions and there is no way out until and unless people adhere to all the SOPs,” Tynsong added.
He pointed out Meghalaya is not the only state in the country facing a tough time financially but said the government has instructed the Health department to list the requirement of beds, oxygen cylinders and other infrastructure for approval.
Ri Bhoi DC inspects
Ri Bhoi Deputy Commissioner, RM Kurbah on Tuesday inspected the Umling entry point and checked the vehicles entering the state to ensure that registration and testing protocols were being strictly followed.
The deputy commissioner, accompanied by other officials and police, verified Covid-19 certificates of all entrants and those without one were directed to collect the same from the entry point before proceeding on their journey.
Local cabbies and auto drivers ferrying passengers to and from Byrnihat have been asked to register at the exit point at Byrnihat and provide all details of their passengers.