The Meghalaya Government has prohibited the entry of all travellers from the United Kingdom visiting the state amid concerns over the detection of a mutated and more infectious strain of COVID-19 in the European country.
Following the COVID-19 induced lockdown, Meghalaya was recently declared open for tourists on 21 December. However, with the detection of a mutated strain of the virus, the State Government has barred travellers from the UK into the state.
The government has also urged people who have recently returned from Britain or transited through the country to stay in isolation and inform the government about their travel history, according to an official order.
“Tourists coming from the UK are prohibited from entering the state with immediate effect in view of the (detection of) a new highly infectious COVID-19 strain.
“All entrants to the state (who have come) from or transited through the UK in the past 4 weeks (from 25th November to 23rd December 2020) are required to declare their travel history (of past 14 days) to the surveillance units in the state and undergo RT-PCR test,” Chief Secretary MS Rao said in the order issued on Wednesday.
He requested people to wear masks while stepping out of homes and abide by other COVID-19 protocols.
According to reports, Sampath Kumar, the commissioner and secretary in-charge of the health department, said that those with travel history to the UK would be put under quarantine in a separate isolation unit.
“If they test negative for the infection, they would have to undergo seven-day institutional quarantine, followed by another seven days of home quarantine,” Kumar said, adding that district surveillance officers would be monitoring them.
Official sources said five people with recent travel history to the UK have been detected in the state so far, and health workers are currently attending to them.
Meghalaya has recorded 13,298 cases of COVID-19 so far, of which 135 have succumbed to the disease.