Assam government brings in fresh curbs to contain the spread of coronavirus

The new Assam government has brought in fresh restrictions and increased the duration of curfew to arrest the surge in Covid cases. Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that those who organise functions where the headcount exceeds the prescribed limits would be charged with “attempt to murder”.

On Wednesday, Assam announced new standard operating procedures (SOPs) with respect to urban areas and semi-urban areas.

There will be a ban on movement of individuals from 2 pm to 5 am daily. All shops and commercial establishments will shut down from 1 pm on all days. Weekly bazaars will not be allowed for 15 days. All educational institutions must provide virtual learning options for students. No physical classes are allowed for 15 days. All offices ––government and non-government –– will be shut for 15 days.

Government/ semi government officials in the rank of deputy secretary and above and senior executives in non-government sectors along with their key support staff will be allowed to attend offices up to 1 pm only for emergency work.

Marriages and religious functions will be limited to private affairs and a maximum of ten persons will be allowed. No reception parties will be allowed post or pre marriage. Funeral/ last rites can be attended by not more than 10 persons. All religious places will remain closed for 15 days. However, the religious head or his representative may perform minimal religious rituals/ prayers during this period of closure.

All public transport will be allowed to operate only up to 30% seating capacity. Autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis shall operate with one driver and two passengers. Pillion riding is 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 and 2 pm.

Mahanta told mediapersons: “If anyone or any organisation organises any function or event violating government orders and SOPs, it would be treated as a betrayal against society. In that case, we will not only apply the simple Indian Penal Code or provisions of the Disaster Management Act…but the strictest law would be applied against them.”

“Those organising any function, party, get-together or any kind of gatherings may have to face charges similar to attempt to murder,” the DGP added.

Assam has so far registered 3,04,429 Covid-19 positive cases and 1,838 people have died due to the disease. To review the Covid situation, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has assigned different districts to his ministers. Sarma will monitor the Covid situation in Majuli district. The ministers will monitor the trend in the number of Covid cases and compliance of restrictions in the districts assigned to them.

They will assess the adequacy of health care facilities to meet the present and anticipated number of Covid cases, besides guiding and supporting the district administration by coordinating with the health & family welfare and other departments. The ministers will keep the chief minister and health & family welfare minister informed about the situation on a regular basis.

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