Gangtok, April 21:
The Government of Sikkim through IPR released a notice of Chief Minister P.S. Tamang chairing an emergency meeting on April 21 with Cabinet Ministers and other officials of the State Administration to assess the situation of burgeoning cases of coronavirus in the nation and to also take stock of preparedness in regard to compliance of lockdown guidelines in Sikkim after April 20’s relaxation that was implemented.
The meeting resulted with the following decisions being taken:
- The State of Sikkim will continue to be in a state of complete lockdown till 3rd of May, 2020. The District and police administration shall ensure that restrictions that were in place in the first and second phase of lock-down will be reinforced continually, in the same manner, except for the relaxations for MGNREGA works, agriculture, permitted industries and activities. The State Government will review the situation again before the 3rd of May to decide on a further course of action.
- Inter-state movement of vehicles will be restricted till the 3rd of May, 2020. All the movement will be regulated and permitted through identified vehicles only.
- All educational institutions will remain closed till 31st May 2020.
- The meeting also discussed in detail about the measures to be taken after the possible lifting of lockdown on 3rd May 2020 for which decisions will be taken well in advance.
- The Chief Minister stressed on the importance of Aarogya Setu App and called for mandatory use of the App by every individual for their own safety.
- MGNREGA workers should carry out only those activities which are within the confines of their private holdings/farms. No construction work to be carried out till 3rd of May, till further orders.
- All offices will remain closed till 3rd May 2020, except for the necessary services, as was the practice before 20th May 2020. There will be restrictions on the issue of vehicle passes to check unnecessary movement. The e-passes issued in the past shall no longer be valid.
- The Chief Minister appealed to the people to maintain the utmost care of their health and to strictly adhere to the safety guidelines issued by the State Government. He called for strict compliance of lockdown norms.
Restrictions that were in place during the first and second phase of the lockdown shall continue and relaxation from April 20 shall be longer be in place. Earlier, it had been decided that from April 20, relaxation would allow exemptions for farmers and those in the agriculture sector to go back to the fields while maintaining social distancing, government developmental works like road and building construction projects would also resume with labourers who are present in Sikkim right now. This will continue to be applicable as of April 21.
A percentage of government employees were also to resume duties but since the above announcement, it has been decided that all government offices will be examined closed till May 3, except for the necessary services that were exempted in the first phase of the lockdown from March 25. All educational institutions remain to closed in the state till May 31, earlier it was only till May 3.
People from April 14-April 20 could obtain E-passes from the website www. for movement of vehicles inside the state. This will no longer be valid as E-passes will not be allowed and there will now be out strict restrictions on the issue of vehicle passes. The intra-State movement has also been banned till May 3 as well as all educational institutions will continue to remain closed, which were regulations of the first phase of the lockdown.
The Chief Minister through this meeting has appealed to the Sikkimese public to be in compliance with the new regulation of the lockdown and take care of their health and also called for the mandatory use of the Arogya Setu App which is a mobile application developed by the Government of India to connect essential health services with the people of India in the fight against COVID-19. The App aims to augment the initiatives of the Government of India, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the app regarding risks, best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19. The Arogya Setu App can be downloaded through the Play store and the iOS App Store. This meeting’s agenda was also to discuss possible measures after the possible lifting of lockdown after May 3.
These new regulations came after a day since the Centre Government informed that the condition of COVID-19 spread is getting serious in 11 districts across 4 states, which are:
Madhya Pradesh: Indore
Maharashtra: Mumbai and Pune.
West Bengal: Kolkata, Howrah, 24 Parganas, Medinipur East, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
Due to Sikkim’s close proximity with a few districts that have been declared as where the COVID-19 spread is getting serious, the above-stated regulations might have been implemented by the State Government. Sikkim continues to be the only state that has had no confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of today.