The Mizoram government on Sunday extended the ongoing lockdown for another one month till June 30. The state government also issued new guidelines for the fifth phase of the lockdown with special emphasis on social distancing and maintenance of strict vigilance along the international and inter-state borders, which will come into effect from Monday.
Mizoram is regarded as a green zone and it became COVID-19 free state after its lone patient recovered and was discharged from a hospital on May 9.
"In view of the continued rise of positive cases in other parts of the country, particularly in the neighbouring states and the mass return of stranded residents of Mizoram from containment zones of other states, it is felt necessary to further extend the lockdown period till June 30 in order to prevent the spread of the disease in Mizoram," the government order on Sunday said.
According to the new guidelines, all international and inter-state borders will continue to remain closed barring three entry points - Vairengte and Bairabi on the Mizoram - Assam border and Kanhmun on the state border with Tripura, which will be opened for vehicles carrying essential commodities and non-essential commodities allowed by the state home department.
However, inter-state or cross-border movement of vehicles carrying passengers is strictly prohibited except those permitted by the home department, the guideline said, adding that intra-state movement of people and goods is allowed.
Stand-alone shops and other business establishments are allowed to open till 5 pm. However, shops at shopping complexes and commercial hub within Aizawl Municipal area and district headquarters will open on alternate days.
The night curfew will continue to remain imposed between 7 pm and 4:30 am and assembly of more than five people is prohibited, the order said.
Other activities that are prohibited across the state include operation of educational and training institutions, entertainment parks, picnic spots, theatres, gymnasiums, spa and other similar places for entertainment, street vending, social, games and sports, political and other events, and opening of all religious places including religious congregation, the order said.
Gathering of not more than 20 people is allowed at marriage ceremonies and funeral, and also social distancing should be maintained strictly in public places.
Meanwhile, state Education minister Lalchhandama Ralte told PTI that the new guideline would not affect the resumption of pending class 12 board examinations and compartmental examination for class 10 slated from June 16-18.
Regular classes for the new academic session is likely to begin from July after consultation among the government, school authorities and parents as per the Ministry of Home Affairs order, he said.
On Saturday, Health Minister Dr. R Lalthangliana had said Mizoram might need to be put under lockdown for some time till all the stranded residents returned to the state.