The twenty-four shutdown called by the state government as part of taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), has evoked positive response from the citizens of the state on Saturday.
According to chief minister Conrad K Sangma, the shutdown is observed as a coronavirus awareness day (CAD).
Meghalaya is yet to have a single positive case of COVID-19 infection. It may be mentioned that so far five have been tested and all of them have come out negative.
Normal life was thrown out of gear with government/private offices, business establishments, educational institutions and bank institutions remain closed across the city and different parts of the state during the shutdown.
Deputy Commissioners of the eleven districts have prohibited operations of all markets and commercial establishments, operation of public transports and assembly of more than 5 persons.
The state capital almost wore a deserted look with majority of the citizens remaining indoors and very few private vehicles were seen plying on the roads.
However, medical stores and pharmacies also down their shutters despite the fact that they have been exempted from shutdown.
Earlier, the government had also directed the closing down of all tourist spots and places of mass gatherings like cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, major sports events and swimming pools as precautionary measure to check the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing the citizens through facebook, chief minister Conrad K Sangma said, “We are observing the CAD and it is in a way a kind of a bandh being called but not in a negative manner. The idea of having the CAD which some are saying it’s like a lockdown, a curfew or a bandh, but it is being done for a positive reason as we want people and the society to start really talking about coronavirus and realizing that simple steps can be taken by all individuals and the society as a whole to really protect themselves and that we don’t need to panic.”
Urging the people to follow the protocol of safety measures, Sangma said maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene by washing them regularly, avoiding crowded places and unnecessary programmes and functions , avoid touching face, nose, eyes and mouth are very important.
He said just because not a single case has been detected in the state, people cannot be complacent.
Emphazising on the need to break the transmission chain of the virus, the chief minister also appeal to all the people who have come from outside the state and country to cooperate with the government’s advisories.
“Instruction of self-isolation will help us break the transmission chain. If we are able to break this transmission chain for the next 14 days, it will be a good chance for us to really contain this virus which is spreading throughout the world. Therefore, we need the support and cooperation of all the people especially those who have come from outside for the safety of your families and friends. Please call 108 helpline or register online so that we will be in a position to guide you on how to takecare of yourself and monitor…,” he said.
Lauding the people of the state for their support and cooperation, the chief minister said, “This is day of awareness and for us to do our part as individuals and society to contain this virus and not to allow it to win over our state and our society.”
Sangma also informed that different government departments are also coordinating with each other to ensure that the state is prepared for any kind of eventualities.
Meanwhile, district authorities are also taking up measure to disinfect public places across the state. “we are using this day and time to disinfect different parts of the city and state mainly urban areas, roads, banks, ATMs, shops, railings, government buildings, public areas as much as possible,” the CM said.