Shillong, Jun 11 (PTI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday announced an extension of the lockdown in East Khasi Hills district for another week till June 21 in view of the spurt in COVID-19 cases in the region.

The decision was taken as the positivity rate for the coronavirus infection continues to be over 10 per cent in the district, a health department official said.

"The state government has decided to extend the lockdown in East Khasi Hills by another week," Sangma said in a video message.

Deputy commissioners of other districts have been empowered to decide on providing relaxation of the existing COVID restretions there.

"In other districts, DCs have been empowered to decide as per local situation and in consultation with the COVID care management committees. Up to 20 per cent of non-essential shops may be opened in certain areas in the state," the chief minister said.

Taking to Twitter, Sangma said that a few relaxations will be allowed as deemed fit by the deputy commissioners.

"DCs may also permit up to 20 per cent of commercial vehicles to operate," he said.

Apart from East Khasi Hills, the authorities of other districts have also imposed lockdown to fight against the pandemic in their areas.

Though the number of cases has come down in a few districts, the "positivity rate is still in the danger mark", Sangma said on the microblogging site.

Health Department Principal Secretary Sampath Kumar said the average positivity rate in the past week was recorded at 16.27 per cent in East Khasi Hills district.

The state capital Shillong, which falls under the district, registered about a 17 per cent positivity rate, he said, adding that there is a need to contain the spread of the infection.

According to the senior health official, the number of tests per day will also be increased from the current rate of around 3,000 to 5,000.

Meghalaya on Friday reported 514 new COVID-19 cases, which pushed the tally to 41,100.

The coronavirus death toll in the northeastern state rose to 714 as 10 more people succumbed to the infection. PTI

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