Assam may impose stricter COVID curbs in high-incidence districts

Guwahati, Jun 21 (PTI) The number of COVID-19 cases is declining in some districts of Assam but the overall situation is “still precarious” in the state for which adequate measures are still necessary in both rural and urban areas to contain the pandemic, a government order said.

The Assam government is closely monitoring districts with high COVID-19 prevalence and may enforce stricter curbs if there is no improvement, the order issued by Jishnu Baruah, Chief Secretary in his capacity as the Chairperson of the State Disaster Management Authority said.

The districts with high COVID-19 cases have been identified as Cachar, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, and Sonitpur.

Though the daily count has declined in Kamrup Metropolitan, which still has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state, there will be a total ban on movement of individuals from 2 pm to 5 pm daily, which has been relaxed by an hour from the earlier 1 pm.

The restrictions have been eased in eight districts of South Salmara, Majuli, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Udalguri, West Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao, and Charaideo where COVID-19 cases have been less than 40 in the last ten days.

The movement of people has been allowed in the eight districts from 5 am to 5 pm, the order said.

In the remaining districts, a ban on the movement of individuals from 1 pm to 5 pm, imposed since June 4, will continue to be in force until further orders.

All inter-district transport services and movement of people to and from other districts shall remain suspended until further orders.

In case the positivity rate in any area reached five per cent or more in urban areas, and ten per cent or more in rural areas, in the past one week, the district magistrates will notify such areas as containment zones and ensure necessary measures in those areas.

It is mandatory for all employees of government and private enterprises, who have taken both doses of the vaccine, to attend office.

Government or semi-government officers in the rank of Deputy Secretary and above and senior executives in the non- government sector along with their key support staff will have to attend office for emergency and urgent work, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Organisations rendering essential or emergency services, and law enforcement services will continue to work without any restrictions.

Pregnant employees and women with children below the age of five working in any government, PSU, financial institution, private organisation, irrespective of their grade, shall be eligible to work from home while persons with disabilities working in any of these organisations shall be exempted from duties though they may be encouraged to work from home.

All educational institutions will not hold physical classes but continue to provide quality virtual options, the order said.

The other restrictions, imposed earlier, including the odd-even formula for plying vehicles on alternate days, declaration of containment zones, imposed on June 4, will remain in force across the state, the order said.

On May 25, the state government had extended the restrictions to rural areas while an earlier order on May 15 had imposed it only in urban areas and its periphery of five km except for those going for vaccinations, medical emergencies, and those engaged in essential services.

All vehicles, other than government vehicles and those exempted by an earlier order, are plying following the odd- even formula, but this restriction does not apply to personal vehicles used for medical emergencies.

The state government on May 12 had directed that all offices, religious places, and weekly markets be shut for 15 days while on May 4, the night curfew was advanced to 6 pm from 8 pm which was imposed on April 27.