M’laya Police to discourage visitors from tourism spots

Correspondent Shillong, Mar 18 | Publish Date: 3/18/2020 11:52:15 AM IST

Visitors who reached various tourism destinations in Meghalaya were sent back on Wednesday as part of the preventive measures in place against COVID-19.

Tourist police officials have been posted at major tourist sites to ward of visitors, who have been coming into the state from different parts of the country and abroad.

The government has also issued an order shutting down all tourist spots in the state  till March 31 next as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19, vide a notification issued by Governor Tathagata Roy on Tuesday night

 “There is a possibility that this may be extended up to April 15, 2020,” Director of Information and Public Relations, Batlang S. Sohilya said.

 “Therefore, all tourists intending to visit Shillong and other places in Meghalaya are requested to re-schedule their travel plans accordingly,” he said.

A tourist police official posted at Elephant falls, one of the tourist destinations, said that they ward-off more than 100 vehicles ferrying tourists on Wednesday.

 “We politely told them (tourists) that all tourist spots have been shut down in view of the evolving situation of COVID-19,” the official said.

A tourist, who travelled all the way from Rajasthan with his family members, was annoyed that he couldn’t visit the Elephant falls but praised the Tourist police officials for strictly implementing the government order.

 “Health is the utmost priority for anyone of us. The State government is doing a good job by restricting people to gather in view of the contagious COVID-19 virus, which is fast spreading worldwide,” Rameshwar Singh said.

On Tuesday, the Meghalaya government has appealed to all domestic and foreign travellers visiting the state to mandatorily report to the office of the deputy commissioner through 108 toll free helpline.

“All such travellers are also advised to maintain social distancing and self quarantine at home for 14 days and call for 108 for any assistance from the health department and other state agencies,” Commissioner and Secretary for Health and Family Welfare, P Sampath Kumar said.

All educational institutions have already been closed in the state, even as the courts have been asked to take up only urgent cases for trial.

  Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma also  held a review meeting with Deputy Commissioners and Medical Officers of all the districts to take a stock of the preparedness of the districts in containing COVID-19.

Sangma conducted the meeting via video conferencing in presence of Health and Family Welfare Minister, Alexander LalooHek,  Home Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui and Food & Civil Supplies Minister, James K Sangma.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister termed the situation in the world and other parts of the country is alarming.

 “There is a need to be serious but without creating panic and discomfort to the people to protect and contain the situation,” Sangma told the government officials.

He also called upon the participation of the local headmen and the community and closely monitoring the situation in the State for the next fifteen days is very crucial.

The meeting discussed mandatory screening and monitoring of people who come from outside the country and other parts of the country, setting up of isolation wards, medical volunteers, stock of essential commodities, testing centres and the logistics and setting up of control rooms at the district and state level.

The Chief Minister also stressed on the need to disseminate awareness of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing.

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