Meghalaya will remain under lockdown for five days, from March 24 to 29, except on March 26, as a preventive measure to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“As preventive measure, we have decided to put the entire state under lockdown for five days,” Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters on Monday.
“We called this a ‘self-imposed lockdown’ which will first start from Monday at 10 pm and continue till 5 am on March 26,” he added.
“We have decided to relieve the people of the state on March 26 for buying essential items and we will create more markets in Shillong city and outskirts,” said the deputy chief minister.
The lockdown would again become effective from March 27-29.
Tynsong said arrangements will be made for the distribution of essential groceries to local stores in the localities during the lockdown period, and informed that there is no shortage of essential items in the state.
Tynsong said government offices will function with an overall strength of 30 per cent, and banks will function with restrictions mostly transactions related to cash deposits and withdrawals everyday from 10 am to 2 pm.
“Banks should follow strictly on social distancing and sanitizing offices and rooms where ATM machines are installed,” he said.
Tynsong said Iewduh, the main market in Shillong city, will remain closed during the lockdown period.
However, on March 26, there will be temporary markets for selling vegetables, and meat from Anjalee point to Cantonment police beat house, and other places like Lad Smit, Madan Umdiengpun at 7th Miles Upper Shillong and Mawlai area, besides Polo area.
“The order on lockdown will not be applicable to security forces and medical teams on duty, pharmacies and all essential services like health, power (MeECL), PHE, PWD, police and armed forces,” he said.
Besides, fire and emergency services, food and civil supply, Shillong Municipal Board, telecom, telegraph and IT services, banks and ATMs have also been exempted, he added.
Stating that sufficient essential commodities will be available in all district headquarters, Tynsong said movement of vehicles ferrying essential commodities, security forces, medical equipment and goods vehicles are also exempted from the lockdown.
However, drivers and attendants of the vehicles shall be subject to medical screening as per laid-down protocols.
The deputy chief minister also thanked the people of the state including various religious groups and organisations for cooperating with the government.
He also sought their further cooperation in the coming days and take responsibility together by adopting measures to prevent the spread of the virus.