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Meghalaya on alert with the discovery of COVID-19 Delta variant in State

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Shillong, June 10: Meghalaya government is worried with the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the rural areas as the highly infectious and transmissible Delta variant of the virus has made inroads into the State.

Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma said, “After doing the genome sequence of large numbers of samples, we are seeing that this is more of a Delta variant that we have which is a very highly infectious and high transmissible variant.”

Talking to reporters here on Thursday, he said districts such as West Garo Hills and West Jaintia Hills are reporting high cases with daily caseload hovering around 60-70 besides East Khasi Hills, whose numbers are again going into 200s after coming down to 150s for past few days.

Meghalaya reported 603 cases on Thursday, the highest in several days. At the same time, East Khasi Hills has recorded 733 cases since Monday this week, detecting 226 cases on Thursday alone. However, the district has been reporting the highest numbers for the beginning of the pandemic and is subject to the most stringent containment measures.
The other districts, on the other hand, are showing alarming trend. West Jaintia Hills has reported 246 cases this week so far, West Garo Hills – 199 for the same time period, Ri-Bhoi district – 126, South West Khasi Hills – 117, North Garo Hills – 107, East Garo Hills – 77, South West Garo Hills – 76, West Khasi Hills – 75, East Jaintia Hills – 61, South Garo Hills – 51. These are the numbers from Monday to Thursday, with three more days to go.

The Chief Minister said the rapid spread of the virus in the rural areas is a matter of concern and he has scheduled a visit to Jowai on Friday to review the overall preparedness of the two districts of Jaintia Hills region in this regard.

Meanwhile, the containment measures in the East Khasi Hills, particularly in Shillong city, have helped in curbing the number of cases.

Measures to combat rising cases

The Chief Minister said government will observe the situation in the next few days and make sure that the rural areas and rural infrastructures are prepared for the situation.

He said the growing numbers are a concern but the government has made arrangements best to its capacity even as he stressed on the need to ensure more containment areas are created to contain the spread of the virus.

“We have to be careful, we have to keep a watch and we have to continuously monitor the situation and continuously improve on the overall setups and infrastructures at the grassroot level also,” he said.

He also exuded confidence that the state if right measures are taken now, things can be kept under control and the Deputy Commissioners have taken measures at their own level to ensure the numbers don’t spiral out of hand.

Health infrastructure picking pace

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the health infrastructure to deal with the growing number of cases is coming up fast across the State.

“We have been getting good reports that the infrastructures are coming up very fast including the oxygen plants, so all these aspects will be reviewed,” Conrad said.

Decision on lockdown extension tomorrow

The chief minister said the government will take a call on whether to continue with the lockdown measures after seeing the trend and reports from the deputy commissioners.
“We will take a call tomorrow (Friday) on how we move forward but, as I said, I keep maintaining that we are trying our best to ensure that keeping health as a priority we also realized that economic activities need to be balanced out so we look into those aspects also,” he said.

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