With zero Covid-19 cases till last week, hamlets in Darjeeling hills will now be locked down
The decision was taken after four health workers, including a doctor posted at the Mirik community block health centre tested positive for Covid-19.Updated: Jun 26, 2020 23:29 IST
Mirik, a small town in the Darjeeling district of Bengal, did not have a single Covid-19 patient till last week. Equally lucky were a few hamlets dotting the landscape.
The situation has now suddenly changed. Mirik town, officials said, will remain out of bounds for outsiders for a week starting Friday. The decision was taken after four health workers, including a doctor posted at the Mirik community block health centre tested positive for Covid-19.
Aswini Kumar Roy, sub-divisional officer of Mirik, said, “The administration will go door- to-door till July 1 to find out if any social contamination has taken place. Nine people have tested positive so far in this sub-division.”
Sauraj Golay, president of the Mirik traders’ association said, “Mirik town and all nine community wards in Mirik municipality area will go under complete lockdown. Vehicles will not be allowed to enter or leave Mirik.” Hamlets around Mirik will also follow the lockdown order.
The shutdown in Mirik comes days after traders in Siliguri town in the plains decided to suspend business at Bidhan Market, Hong Kong Market and the local jewellery market. Ten people have died in Siliguri and the number of Covid-19 cases in Siliguri sub-division stood at 395 till Thursday. The Siliguri regulated market, which is the largest regulated market in north Bengal and from where vegetable, fruit and fish are supplied to Darjeeling hills and Sikkim, is closed since two weeks.
On Friday, traders decided to shut down the Salugara market near Siliguri for a week after some local people tested positive for Covid-19. Sankar Prasad, secretary of the traders’ body said, “A large number of people from outside have come to Salugara to work as porters in the army. Local people are feeling scared.”
The army, which has a base in the region, recruits porters on a temporary basis in Sikkim and Salugara. The number of people applying for the six-month long job has increased exponentially this year because of rising unemployment during the lockdown, local people said.
Tashi Lama, president of Salugara traders’ association said, “More than 4000 people have come to Salugara while the army needs only 300 porters. They have no place to stay and are spending their nights outside shops and temples.”