The Meghalaya government is contemplating closure of the cement plants including Star Cement at Lumshnong area in East Jaiñtia Hills, after several COVID19 positive cases were detected through random sampling.

From the Star Cement factory alone, 58 COVID19 positive cases were detected, among the 121 new positive cases detected on Wednesday, taking the number of active cases to 1,355.

As many 107 patients have recovered on Wednesday, which include 88 from East Khasi Hills district, two each from Ri-Bhoi district, South West Garo Hills district and East Garo Hills district, four each from East Jaiñtia Hills district and North Garo Hills districts and five from West Garo Hills district.

With these recoveries, the number of persons, who recovered from the viral infections in the state, has risen to 1,823.

Two fresh deaths were also reporter as two women died of COVID-19 on Wednesday taking the death toll to 19.

The director of health services (MI), Dr Aman War told reporters on Wednesday that during the random sampling, more than 100 persons in the cement factory were tested, after which, 58 persons were found positive for COVID19.

“As random sampling is on in the cement factory, we will see how the situation is, and recommend for closure of the cement plants,” the DHS said.

When asked if workers of the cement factory and truck drivers have violated the health protocols, the DHS said as the weather is hot and high temperature in the area, people could not wear masks for long.

Besides, hundreds of trucks are entering and leaving the factory in a day, thereby posing grave health hazards and safety protocols were not maintained in these cement plants, he said.

On the death of two women, Dr War said 58-year-old Usha Paul was declared brought dead to Nazareth Hospital on Tuesday night, while another 78-year-old Debu Chettri passed away in the same hospital on Wednesday morning.

“The swab samples of Paul, collected at the hospital after she died, tested positive for COVID19. The deceased was a known case of hypertension and diabetes,” Dr War said.

“Chettri was admitted to Nazareth hospital on Tuesday and she also tested positive for COVID-19. She had comorbidities like hypertension besides suffering from diabetes,” Dr. War added.

The break-up of the new 121 cases include 30 from East Khasi Hills district, 59 from East Jaiñtia Hills district, 25 from West Garo Hills district, two from Ri-Bhoi and four from South Garo Hills district.

Dr War said the samples sent for testing were 1, 04,090, out of which, 99,640 samples tested negative, while the results of 1,253 are awaited.

Dr. War informed that under PM-CARE, another testing centre has been proposed to be set up at Shillong Civil Hospital, considering the rise of positive cases and community spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the DHS said patients, especially those suffering from diabetes, hypertension are vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are comorbidities.

“We, therefore, urge the youth to be more responsible in their activities to ensure that they do not spread the virus among the vulnerable age groups especially elderly people and those who have already been infected with other diseases,” the DHS said.

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