The Mizoram government on Friday decided to ban entry of trucks and other vehicles carrying goods into the state after 18 truck drivers and handymen from outside tested positive for novel coronvirus, officials said.
However, vehicles carrying essential commodities will be exempted from the ban, they said.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Mizoram cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Zoramthanga.
The meeting decided to temporarily ban entry of vehicles carrying commodities barring those carrying essential commodities at the existing two entry points in Vairengte on the Mizoram-Assam border and Kanhmun on the state border with Tripura until further order to prevent further spread of virus in the state, an official said.
The cabinet expressed concern about 18 truck drivers and helpers stranded along the National Highway-306 (formerly NH-54) between Hmangkhawthlir and Sethawn in Kolasib district, who tested positive for Covid-19, she said.
The meeting also decided that drivers and handymen of the vehicles carrying essential items will have to undergo mandatory screening and Rapid Antigen Test at the entry points and they will be allowed to make inward movement to the state if they tested negative for the virus, she said.
The vehicles will not be allowed to stop on the way until they reach their destinations and they will return to their states after unloading the commodities.
They are bound to follow safety protocol and standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the state government and they should not make physical or close contact with others while unloading the goods.
Police patrolling will be expedited and augmented to ensure that the drivers and their hired men respect safety protocol during the journey, the official said.
Essential commodities carrying vehicles are allowed to enter the state only through Vairengte and Kanhmun entry points, she added.
Meanwhile, Kolasib district deputy commissioner told reporters that at least 18 truck drivers and handymen and a 12-year-old girl, who is a local resident of Sethawn village, have tested positive for Covid-19, taking the states Covid-19 tally to 558.
He said that the patients, although they did not develop symptoms of coronavirus, were isolated at a Covid-19 Care Centre in Thingdawl near Kolasib town.
He said that at least 320 samples belonging to truck drivers and helpers have been tested since Thursday.
The deputy commissioner also said that the area between Hmangkhawthlir and Sethawn has been declared a containment zone.
Kolasib SP Vanlalfaka Ralte said that about 572 vehicles are currently stranded along the NH-306 due to repair work of road between Hmangkhawthlir and Sethawn and drivers and handymen of the vehicles are yet to be tested.
He said that 89 vehicles were released from containment zone on Friday.
An official told PTI that many stranded vehicles have returned to their states with their goods Friday.