Sikkim will not impose lockdown, says CM Golay
Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay said the State Government would not implement a lockdown despite the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.
“We have not yet decided on declaring lockdown in Sikkim, as our business must continue, tourists are not being told that they cannot enter Sikkim, everyone is most welcome, but for the safety of the tourists, they must take the RT-PCR tests, tourists without RT-PCR can also enter, but hoteliers are the ones who need to take their responsibility and get them tested properly. The same applies till April 20,” Golay said on Monday.
Meanwhile, stakeholders expressed their concerns with Tourism Minister B.S. Panth over the mandatory RAT-PCR certificate requirement for tourists visiting the state, as, according to them, it would lead to cancellation of many bookings and reservations.
On April 7, the state government made it mandatory for tourists visiting Sikkim to have a COVID negative RT-PCR certificate (72 hours before arrival) or undergo a similar test immediately upon their arrival in the state.
The decision was strongly contested by the tourism stakeholders.
The stakeholders had appealed for scrapping the mandatory negative RT-PCR test certificate from the directives, stating that they would take full responsibility for implementing preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Concerning the tourism stakeholders, Golay said, “Any tourist coming without getting themselves tested, or without the negative certificate, and if they end up being COVID positive, the place where they are putting up will be sealed. Hence, the appeal goes to tourism stakeholders that for your safety, follow the RT-PCR testing procedure.”
“Tourism stakeholders informed us of the difficulty to get a tourist tested for RT-PCR. Taking the same into account, we will decide by April 20 on setting up RAT testing centres at Rangpo and Melli check posts,” Golay added.
The CM also urged the stakeholders to not compare the situation with neighbouring places like Darjeeling and Kalimpong, claiming that the hills have no account of how many people tested positive.
Concerning the status of the RT-PCR test certificate for locals coming from other states, he informed that those who are symptomatic would be tested and will be taken into quarantine.
Besides this, migrant workers will not be allowed to enter the state until April 20, and markets would likely be closed on weekends if the number of positive cases continues to rise.
(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)
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