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Sikkim imposes curbs on Sat-Sun to combat surge in COVID cases; details here

GANGTOK: Sikkim’s government has imposed a new set of curbs in view of the spiral of COVID-19 cases, which seems to have found a new lease of life in the past couple of months, leading to fresh concerns for the health machinery of the state.

To reduce crowding during the weekends, the state government has decided to re-impose weekend lockdown-like restrictions.

S.C. Gupta, the state’s chief secretary, today issued a fresh set of directives to maintain a check on the virus before it potentially blows out of control.

To arrest the spread of the pathogen, all shops will remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays except for medical shops, ration shops, and vegetable vendors in bazar areas, he said.

“This will remain in effect till April 30. During this period, the normal weekly off-days like Tuesday/ Thursday/Saturday will be kept suspended,” the notice said.

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“For tourists who have negative RTPCR test report but whose 72 hours’ limit has expired, Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) facilities will be set up at Rangpo and Meth by the Heath and Family Welfare Department. A separate SOP will be issued by the Health & Family Welfare Department regarding procedure, location, and an effective date for operation of these facilities,” Gupta added.

With effect from April 17, for all social, political, or religious gatherings, the number of persons shall not exceed 50 persons at any given point of time, he added.

All such gatherings must duly maintain COVID-19 appropriate protocols like mask-wearing, social-distancing, hand-sanitizing, etc. Prior permission of the concerned District Collector should be obtained in all such cases.

The decision, the communique added, has been taken as “the number of COVID-I9 cases is on the rise throughout the country and also in the state.”

Sikkim reported 54 fresh COVID- 19 cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally in the state to 6,405, an official said on Sunday.

All the 54 new COVID-19 cases were reported from East Sikkim district, state Information Education Communication (IEC) member Sonam Bhutia said.

Sikkim now has 169 active COVID-19 cases, while 5,983 patients have recovered from the disease, he said.

The COVID-19 death toll in the state is 136, Bhutia said, adding that 117 patients have migrated to other states.

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