With the entire Manipur listed under the green zone, the state government on Monday further relaxed the COVID-19-induced lockdown in more sectors.
As per the new guidelines, issued by the chief secretary of Manipur, markets were allowed to open from 6 am to 4 pm throughout the entire state except for the three historic Ima Markets (women markets), Nagapamal and Ngari galli markets. Earlier the relaxation was confined on locality-based retail shops dealing with essential commodities like groceries for daily use, vegetables, fruits, poultry meat, and fish from 6am to 2pm on all days except Sundays.
From Monday, all government offices were allowed to function subject to attendance of 50 per cent of employees against the earlier order of 33 per cent attendance, for those under secretary rank. Moreover, all private offices were allowed to open subject to strictly following social distancing norm.
As a relaxation of restrictions, a large turnout of people was witnessed in Imphal city. The sudden surge in movements of vehicles created traffic congestion in some streets.
However, to check the spread of COVID-19, certain restrictions were still in place. Movement of public between 6 pm and 6 am was prohibited as public curfew will be enforced from 6 pm to 6 am on all days until further orders.
Restrictions were also still strictly in place on opening of all educational institutes, hospitality services, religious congregations, religious places. The government said public transports including inter-state buses, inter-sate movements of publics, air travel were not allowed with permission from the Home Ministry and Home department.
Moreover, all cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places were not allowed to open.
All social, political, sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions/other gatherings were not allowed. Barber shops, spas and salon remained closed.
Manipur cabinet on May 20 had relaxed the lockdown for 15 sectors including farming operations, constructions of roads and railways, movement of goods from other states among others.
A highly placed source from Manipur chief minister office said Manipur being a green zone and normalcy gradually returning, the state government was now focused on evacuation of stranded state natives and to scale up vigil along the borders.
On Wednesday, as many as 92 stranded state natives were brought back from Guwahati and Mizoram. All of the returnees were tested negative in pool testing conducted by the two testing labs RIMS and JNIMS hospitals. Preparation was in full swing to bring back more stranded. It was learnt that around 30,000 people were stranded outside.
Manipur had reported only two positive cases of COVID-19 and both the patients have been discharged after being cured. According to Manipur Health department, both the cases were imported and so far, there were no fresh cases since the second detection on April 1. Manipur government has scaled up vigil in border areas, particularly the Indo-Myanmar border. Manipur shares 398 of its total border with Myanmar.
The source from the CMO further said that a crucial meeting of the state consultative committee for COVID-19 is convened on Tuesday to review the situation of the state and evacuation stranded state natives as the main agenda.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh is the chairman of the committee with cabinet ministers, MLAs, health officials, police as the members.