By: Dhrubajyoti Chakravorty
SHILLONG, Aug 24: After 75 years of continuous service, The Shillong Times, one of the oldest English newspapers of the Northeast, failed to hit the stand for second day on Monday after the East Khasi Hills administration declared the office of the newspaper as containment zone following three employees tested positive for COVID-19.
The administration also declared the staff quarter of the office as containment zone. The management of the Shillong Times also informed this.
Taking to Facebook the newspaper has announced “With deep regret we inform our readers that we are the only media house in the world to have fallen victim to COVID-19! After 75 years of service, we got the stick from the government for alleged violation of health protocol. This means that ST will not hit the stands from August 23 onwards.”
Director health services (MI) Dr Aman War on Saturday said that three employees of the newspaper–the machine man, driver and helper –have tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr War said that at present there are more than 70 high risk contacts of the positive cases detected from the newspaper. When asked why the area was not declared as containment zone though the first positive case has been detected few days ago, the DHS said that the magistrate and doctor are in consultation on this matter and investigation was also conducted. To a question if staffers of the newspaper have been forced to come and work from the office, the DHS said that if anyone is forced to work should give a complaint.
Meanwhile, there has been reactions over the temporary closure of the newspaper. A section of people feel that if the management had taken adequate precautions, such a situation would have arisen. Another section urged Meghalaya government to settle the matter as early as possible so that the newspaper starts hitting the stand at the earliest.