Meghalaya Govt issues new COVID-19 guidelines
By Daiaphira Kharsati
The Government of Meghalaya has issued new guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state, including increased surveillance and restrictions.
The new guidelines come following the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country in what is being termed as the ‘Second Wave’.
A meeting chaired by Chief Secretary M.S Rao was held on April 5 to assess the current COVID-19 situation in the state.
During the meeting, Rao said there is a need to review the measures needed to prevent the virus from spreading in the state.
“The situation in the state is not alarming, but because of the steep rise of cases in many states, (we) would need to strengthen the surveillance system and take other preventive measures,” Rao said.
Rao informed that the strategy of “test, trace and treat” will be followed at all times.
Following the meeting, it was decided that people entering Meghalaya barring, the Northeastern states, would have to carry a negative RT-PCR, CBNAAT, TruNat certificate or else they would have to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival.
Day-trippers would be tested using RAT, and checking at entry points would be strictly enforced.
Besides the compulsory test report for travellers, corona care centres in Shillong, Nongpoh, Tura, Resubelpara, Jowai and Khliehriat will remain operational and contractual health staff would be retained for another three months.
The meeting also increased the penalty for not wearing a mask in public to Rs 1,000.
Tourist cab drivers must undergo regular tests in Shillong while buses and tourist taxis from outside the state must proceed directly to Polo grounds, Shillong, for RAT testing “on a cost basis.”
According to the guideline, all public vehicles must operate as per the permitted seating capacity.
The meeting also drew on some important containment measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Some of the key points are:
* Police personnel returning from Assembly duty and those bound for Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) duties must undergo a COVID-19 test.
* Shops, restaurants and bars will close by 9:00 pm as night curfew will be enforced from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am.
* Attendance in congregations must be brought down to 50 per cent of the total capacity (soon after the GHADC election).
* Closure of schools and other educational institutions will be considered based on the situation in the coming days.
* Hotels must ask tourists to produce a COVID-19 negative certificate on arrival.
* Timing of COVID-19 vaccination centres to be re-looked for convenience. Recommended timing is from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Besides this, the meeting unanimously agreed that COVID-19 vaccination centres must increase the number of days in a week for conducting the vaccinations.
According to sources, the Health Department will take up the matter with private hospitals to find an appropriate solution.
It was also decided that all districts must be given COVID-19 vaccination targets based on population and capacity.
(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)