Mizoram on Friday decided to ban entry of trucks and other vehicles carrying goods into the State after 18 truck drivers and handymen from outside the State tested positive for novel coronvirus, an official said.

This decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

However, essential commodities carrying vehicles will be exempted from the ban, the official said.

The official said the Cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Zoramthanga decided to temporarily ban entry of vehicles carrying commodities barring those carrying essential commodities at the existing two entry points in Vairengte on the Mizoram-Assam border and Kanhmun on the state border with Tripura until further order to prevent further spread of novel coronavirus in the State.

The meeting expressed concern about 18 truck drivers and handymen stranded along the National Highway-306 (formerly NH-54) between Hmangkhawthlir and Sethawn in Kolasib district, who tested positive for Covid-19, she said.

The meeting also decided that drivers and handymen of those vehicles carrying essential commodities will have to undergo mandatory screening and Rapid Antigen Test at the entry points and they will be allowed to make inward movement to the state if they tested negative for the virus, she said.

Also read: COVID-19: Mizoram’s tally climbs to 558

The vehicles will not be allowed to stop on the way until they reach their destinations and they will return to their states after unloading the commodities.

They are bound to follow safety protocol and standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the state government and they should not make physical or close contact with others while unloading their goods.

Police patrolling will be expedited and augmented to ensure that the drivers and handymen respect safety protocol during their journey, the official said.

Essential commodities carrying vehicles are allowed to enter the state only through Vairengte and Kanhmun entry points, she added.

Meanwhile, Kolasib district deputy commissioner told reporters that at least 18 truck drivers and handymen and a 12-year-old girl, who is a local resident of Sethawn village, have tested positive for Covid-19, taking the state’s Covid-19 tally to 558.

He said that the patients although they did not develop symptoms of Covid-19 were isolated at  a Covid-19 Care Centre in Thingdawl near Kolasib town.

He said that at least 320 samples belonging to truck drivers and handymen have been tested since yesterday.

The deputy commissioner also said that the area between Hmangkhawthlir and Sethawn has been declared a containment zone.

Kolasib SP Vanlalfaka Ralte said that about 572 vehicles are currently stranded along  the NH-306 due to repairing of road between Hmangkhawthlir and Sethawn and drivers and handymen of the vehicles are yet to be tested.

He said that 89 vehicles were released from containment zone on Friday.

An official said that many stranded vehicles have returned to their states with their goods on Friday.

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