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Closure of Lumshnong cement plants likely after 59 test positive in Star Cement factory

No heed paid to safety protocols: Dr War
HP NEWS SERVICE
Shillong, Sep 9: The Meghalaya government is contemplating closure of cement plants in the Lumshnong area of East Jaiñtia Hills after 59 Covid-19 cases were detected through random sampling at the Star Cement plant today.
This surge of cases took East Jaiñtia Hills’ tally to 85 and represented almost half of Meghalaya’s increase in coronavirus infections today, which stood at 121.
More than 100 people in the factory were tested, Director of Health Services Dr Aman War informed reporters, of which 59 were found positive.
“As random sampling is on in the cement factory, we will see how the situation is and recommend for closure of the cement plants,” the director said.
He added that no safety protocols were maintained in the cement plant, with workers not wearing their face masks for long periods due to the heat. Hundreds of trucks going in and out of the premises on a daily basis could have made the situation worse.
Thirty new infections were reported from East Khasi Hills (two armed forces/paramilitaries, 28 civilians), while there were 25 in West Garo Hills (11 jawans, 14 civilians), four in South Garo Hills, two in Ri-Bhoi (one jawan, one civilian) and one in West Khasi Hills.
In East Khasi Hills 20 of the new infections were in high-risk contacts, three through random testing in Keating Road, four influenza like illnesses (ILIs) and one through random testing in Khyndailad.
In West Garo Hills random testing yielded two positive results in Rongram market, one in AOC Bazaar, six in Babupara and one in Phulbari. There was also one new infection in a returnee and three high-risk contacts. All four cases in South Garo Hills were through random testing in Baghmara market, while Ri-Bhoi and West Khasi Hills saw one high-risk contact test positive in each district.
With 107 recoveries the state now has 1,355 active infections. Two new fatalities in Shillong took the death toll in Meghalaya to 19, while there have been 1,823 recoveries in total.
The district wise breakup of active cases is – East Khasi Hills 860 (152 armed/paramilitary forces and 708 civilians), West Garo Hills 193 (97 jawans and 96 civilians), Ri-Bhoi 117 (31 jawans and 86 civilians), East Jaiñtia Hills 85, West Khasi Hills 31, East Garo Hills 23, South Garo Hills 20, West Jaiñtia Hills 11, North Garo Hills nine, South West Garo Hills five and South West Khasi Hills one.
Of the 107 new recoveries East Khasi Hills recorded 88, West Garo Hills five, East Jaiñtia Hills four, North Garo Hills four, Ri-Bhoi two, South West Garo Hills two and East Garo Hills two.
Dr War said that the total number of samples sent for testing is 1,04,090, of which 99,640 were negative while the results of 1,253 were awaited.
“The awaited test results are high because the testing centre at Pasteur Institute, Shillong was closed on Saturday and Sunday since certain equipment had to be fitted in the new machines and all the samples were sent to NEIGRIHMS for testing,” he informed.
As of today, the number of samples whose reports are awaited is 583 in Pasteur, 550 in NEIGRIHMS and 120 in Tura Civil Hospital.
Dr War also said that, under the PM-CARES fund, there has been a proposal for another testing centre to be set up at Shillong Civil Hospital.