Guwahati: War Nongbri, the District Magistrate of the East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya, has lifted the containment order for The Shillong Times building via an order dated August 25 (Tuesday).
"Based on the report that the identified contacts have been tested and risk profiling has been done, the contact tracing status and testing of the high risk and low risk contacts in the office building and staff quarters of The Shillong Times at Rilbong and the reports and recommendations received thereof and because the office and premises including the staff quarters of The Shillong Times at Rilbong have been duly disinfected, the District Magistrate, East Khasi Hills in an order issued on 25th August, 2020 has lifted the containment order for the above mentioned area with effect from 25th August, 2020", officials said.
"Although The Shillong Times' building has been untagged (as a Containment Zone), there are so many protocols that still have to be followed by the staff. There are some employees who are being prohibited from leaving for the office by the local bodies out of fear of the virus. Thus, there are many challenges that are yet to be overcome", Patricia Mukhim, the editor of The Shillong Times told The Sentinel Digital over the phone.
Amid a sharp spike in the coronavirus cases in the East Khasi Hills region, Northeast India's oldest English daily — The Shillong Times — was shut down temporarily on August 23 over allegations of violating coronavirus-related issues.
The Shillong Times, releasing a statement over the issue, wrote: "After 75 years of service, we got the stick from the government for alleged violation of health protocol. This means that ST will not hit the stands from August 23 onwards."
Additionally, the area around the newspaper's office in Shillong was declared a containment zone after three staffers tested positive for the contagious virus.
The Shillong Times has, however, claimed that their office was shut down despite them following all COVID-19 protocols diligently. They wrote in the note to the readers that their "voice remains stifled at the cruel hands of the law."
It is to be noted that the COVID-19 caseload of Meghalaya crossed the 2,000-mark on Tuesday after 42 people tested positive for the virus, a senior health department official said. Of the new cases, 31 were reported from East Khasi Hills, six from West Garo Hills, three from Ri-Bhoi, and one each from North Garo Hills and West Jaintia Hills districts.
With the addition of these fresh cases, the coronavirus tally in the state has now reached 2,018.
At the same time, as many as 43 patients were cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 832, Health Services Director Aman War said, adding that eight patients have died so far. Meghalaya currently has 1,178 active COVID-19 cases, War informed.