Tackling COVID Surge : Assam Government Closes Offices, Religious Places, Weekly Markets For 15 Days In Urban, Semi-Urban Areas

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Assam government has ordered to shut all offices, religious places and weekly markets for 15 days in urban and semi-urban areas of the state, besides banning the movement of people from 2 pm to 5 am in the wake of the rising COVID-19 cases.

Soon after taking charge as Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had stated controlling the covid cases would be the first priority. He had at media briefing after taking oath as Chief Minister had described the current pandemic situation as “alarming” in the backdrop of daily new infections crossed the 5,000-mark on Sunday. “It is important that Assam contains the pandemic because otherwise cases will start rising across the Northeast,” he said.

Issuing a new set of guidelines for the urban and semi-urban places in the periphery of 5 km of municipal areas, Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua said all standalone shops and commercial establishments shall shut down at 1 pm on all days.

“Complete lockdown is an option, but we are going gradually in a phased manner. We hope these measures will work in the next two-three days,” he said at a press conference.

The new restrictions will come into effect from Thursday.

As per the restrictions notified by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, weekly haats, bazaars, educational institutions and all government and private offices have been ordered to shut for the next 15 days.

“Government officers of deputy secretary and above rank and senior executive in private sector along with their key support staff will be allowed to attend office upto 1 pm only for emergency and essential works,” the order stated.

However, these restrictions will not be applicable for organisations rendering essential and emergency services, law enforcement services and election works.

“All religious places shall remain closed for 15 days… Funeral/last rites related gatherings shall not be more than 10 persons,” the order said.

Likewise, weddings and religious functions will be only private affairs and be allowed with the presence of a maximum of 10 persons and no reception parties will be allowed post or pre wedding.

“In case the test positivity of COVID-19 in any area reaches five per cent or more in the last one week, District Magistrate will notify such areas as containment zone and ensure necessary containment measures for COVID-19,” the ASDMA said.

All public transport will be allowed with 30 per cent of seating capacity, while auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, taxis shall operate with one driver and two passengers only.

“Pillion riding will be totally prohibited in two-wheelers except with women and children.

“All vehicles other than government vehicles will be allowed to ply in accordance with an odd-even formula to be decided by the jurisdictional district disaster management authority between 5 am to 2 pm,” the order stated.

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