Assam relaxes curfew in districts with declining Covid-19 cases
Assam government on Tuesday announced a fresh set of guidelines including shortening of curfew hours in districts where Covid-19 cases have declined considerably and warned districts with rising number of cases with harsher curbs if situation didn’t improve in a week. It also announced continuation of the existing ban on inter-district movement of persons and vehicles. The new guidelines will come into force from 5 am on July 16 and continue till 5 am of June 22.
Health minister Keshab Mahanta, said urban areas with a positivity rate of 5% and above and rural areas with a positivity rate of 10% and above will be declared containment zones, only allowing for essential services. Earlier, district authorities were empowered to declare any urban or rural area with positivity rate of 10% or more as a containment zone.
Kamrup (Metropolitan) district, which includes Guwahati, was rewarded with one extra hour of relaxation in curfew after it registered a sharp drop in the positivity rate.
“In view of the drop in positivity rate, the curfew timings for Kamrup (Metropolitan) district have been changed from the existing 1 pm to 5 am daily to 2 pm to 5 am. Shops and business establishments, which were closing at 12 pm, will now have to down shutters at 1 pm,” Mahanta said.
On Monday, the test positivity rate (TPR) in Kamrup (M) was 1.3% while the state recorded 2.52% TPR. This was in sharp contrast to May 8, when the district recorded 18.1% TPR compared to state-wide TPR of 8.84%.
In South Salmara, Majuli, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Udalguri, West Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao and Charideo districts, which recorded less than 400 new cases daily in the past few days, the new curfew timings would be from 5 pm to 5 am daily with relaxation for 12 hours.
However the minister cautioned Cachar, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sonitpur and Nagaon districts since they have shown an increasing trend in the number of Covid cases in the past few days. “...Existing measures would be implemented strictly and vaccinations increased in these districts. If the figures don’t show a declining trend by June 21, stricter measures including total lockdown might be enforced,” Mahanta said.
In other districts, the existing restrictions i.e., daily curfew from 1 pm to 5 am and closure of shops and businesses at 12 pm will continue for the time being.
As per an earlier order, all government employees who have taken both doses of Covid-19 vaccine resumed office from Monday. But the order won’t be applicable to pregnant women, those with children below five years and specially-abled employees.
All religious places will continue to remain closed and gatherings of not more than 10 people will be allowed to perform last rites. Hotels and restaurants will be able to serve outside guests during non-curfew hours and after that home delivery will be allowed.
Weekly markets will continue to remain closed. Pharmacies, hospitals and other emergency services have been kept outside the purview of curfew restrictions. Tea gardens and other industries will continue to operate as per the existing guidelines.
Assam recorded 3,678 new Covid cases on Monday and 43 deaths. The positivity rate for the state stood at 2.52%. The state has 39,362 active cases at present.