In its battle against the spread of novel coronavirus, the Sikkim government has decided to close its borders for visiting tourists until October. The state government said this is a precautionary measure to prevent the virus from entering the small Himalayan state with a population of nearly seven lakh.
As of date, Sikkim is the only Indian state that has not reported any Covid-19 case so far. Besides it, Nagaland, which initially reported one Covid-19 case, now reports a zero figure because the lone patient was transferred to Assam.
While no Covid-19 case has been detected in Sikkim so far, the state needs to increase its low testing figures. Only 81 samples have been sent for Covid-19 testing from the state. All of them have tested negative.
Speaking to India Today TV, Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad said, “Sikkim will be closed for all tourist activities till October. We have to take this decision in the interest if our seven lakh people. We have also retained all migrant workers and we are providing them food and also paying them every day. We know we will need their help immediately after the lockdown is lifted.”
Speaking about the measures taken by the state government to prevent the virus from entering the state, Governor Ganga Prasad said, “There were many students from Sikkim who were studying in China. They were all back in January itself. Following that, we closed our border and did not allow anyone in. Even the statewide lockdown was given a go ahead from March 17, which was before the Janata Curfew.”
He said the retuning students were kept in quarantine and were allowed to go home only after it was confirmed that they have not contracted Covid-19. “We are working with the local administration along with central government,” he said.
Chief Minister PS Goley has held three meetings with the Governor and the state government is in regular touch with the Centre.
In the state, the administration has formed panchayat and block level teams that are monitoring the supply of essential items throughout the state.
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