The Assam government onWednesday ordered to shut all offices, religious places andweekly markets for 15 days in urban and semi-urban areas ofthe state, besides banning the movement of people from 2 pm to5 am in the wake of the rising COVID-19 cases.
Issuing a new set of guidelines for the urban andsemi-urban places in the periphery of 5 km of municipal areas,Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua said all standalone shops andcommercial establishments shall shut down at 1 pm on all days.
“Complete lockdown is an option, but we are goinggradually in a phased manner. We hope these measures will workin the next two-three days,” he said at a press conferencehere.
The new restrictions will come into effect fromThursday.
As per the restrictions notified by the Assam StateDisaster Management Authority (ASDMA), weekly haats, bazaars,educational institutions and all government and privateoffices have been ordered to shut for the next 15 days.
“Government officers of deputy secretary and aboverank and senior executive in private sector along with theirkey support staff will be allowed to attend office upto 1 pmonly for emergency and essential works,” the order stated.
However, these restrictions will not be applicable fororganisations rendering essential and emergency services, lawenforcement services and election works.
“All religious places shall remain closed for 15days… Funeral/last rites related gatherings shall not bemore than 10 persons,” the order said.
Likewise, weddings and religious functions will beonly private affairs and be allowed with the presence of amaximum of 10 persons and no reception parties will be allowedpost or pre wedding.
“In case the test positivity of COVID-19 in any areareaches five per cent or more in the last one week, DistrictMagistrate will notify such areas as containment zone andensure necessary containment measures for COVID-19,” the ASDMAsaid.
All public transport will be allowed with 30 per centof 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 beallowed to ply in accordance with an odd-even formula to bedecided by the jurisdictional district disaster managementauthority between 5 am to 2 pm,” the order stated.
ASDMA further said that there shall be a total ban onthe movement of individuals from 2 pm to 5 am daily.
For the rest of the state, all restrictions announcedearlier such as night curfew from 6 pm to 5 am with total banon movement of persons at public places on all days willcontinue, except for those engaged in essential and emergencyservices.
When asked why the government is not consideringimposing a complete lockdown, Barua said that any such drasticmeasures adversely affect the poor people and that will beconsidered as the last resort.
Director-General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta saidthe police will implement the restrictions very strictly ifthe people do not follow them.
“If we see people crowding at any place, say in frontof a permitted shop, police will be ruthless. We will useforce and lathi-charge them. You may go and file cases againstus, but we dont care.
“If someone organises any function secretly at homeand invites people, then it will be considered as cheating andbetrayal. We will not only file a case under DisasterManagement Act, but also lodge an attempt to murder case,”Mahanta said.
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