Sharp rise in cases forces Assam to impose 14-day lockdown in Kamrup Metro district from June 28 midnight
The government has also decided to impose a curfew from 7pm to 7am across the state, beginning Friday.Updated: Jun 26, 2020 15:56 IST
The Assam government has imposed lockdown restrictions in the Kamrup Metro district, including the state’s biggest city Guwahati, for 14 days beginning 7pm on Sunday because of 677 fresh coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases in the past 10 days among patients, who had no recent travel history.
The government has also decided to impose a curfew from 7pm to 7am across the state, beginning Friday.
Weekend curfew on Saturday and Sunday will be imposed in all urban areas -- except Kamrup Metro -- from Saturday and will continue till further orders by the state government.
State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the “painful” decision was taken, as residents of Guwahati were not following safety protocols and posing health hazards for themselves and others. “People have failed to fulfil their social responsibility and when that happens the government has to step in. We have decided to impose complete lockdown in Guwahati from Sunday 7pm onwards for 14 days till 6pm on July 12,” Sarma told media persons on Friday afternoon.
“We didn’t want to go from unlocking to a lockdown mode again, but have to take certain tough but painful decisions. It will be strictly enforced and nothing, except hospitals, pharmacies, and laboratories, will be allowed to operate,” he added.
The minister said the move was necessitated following the detection of 677 Covid-19 positive cases in Guwahati, who had no travel history, during a community testing campaign in the city that had started from June 15.
“We have tested 10,617 Guwahati residents, who haven’t had any recent travel history, since June 15. Of them, 677 tested Covid-19 positive. On Thursday, of the 276 Covid-19 positive cases reported across the state and 133 were from Guwahati alone,” he said.
“In Guwahati, barely 10% of the people are following social distancing and other safety norms. The situation is becoming scary and critical. While we expect Covid-19 positive cases across Assam to dip in the coming days, the surge is likely to continue in Guwahati,” Sarma warned.
The minister said that government-run hospitals in Guwahati and the rest of Kamrup Metro district have 890 beds that have been set aside for Covid-19 patients, and if the present trend continues, it would become an uphill task for the health authorities concerned.
Sarma said all offices, including government and private firms, would remain closed during the lockdown. All shops and business establishments and industries would also remain shut, private and public vehicles would not be allowed to ply, all hotels, educational institutions, and religious places would close down. Inter-state transport services would also remain shut unless the passengers have prior permission.
“No functions of any kind will be allowed and only 20 people can take part in a funeral. No grocery, fruit and vegetable shops and establishments selling meat and poultry products will be allowed to open. I urge the public to buy their essential items before the lockdown starts,” Sarma said.
Exemptions include movement of defence and police personnel, government officials involved in essential duties such as fire services, disaster management, electricity, water supply, garbage disposal, health workers, banks (with skeleton staff), automated teller machines (ATMs), milk supply, baby products, medicines, telecommunication, print and electronic media and train and air services.
“Only those hotels used for quarantine and by airline crew will be allowed to operate, government directorates and secretariat will function with skeleton staff and petrol pumps allowed to open,” Sarma said.
He added that people would be allowed to visit the 31 centres opened in all the wards under Guwahati civic body’s jurisdiction to voluntarily undergo Covid-19 tests.
The government is planning to conduct over 50,000 Covid-19 tests in Guwahati by Tuesday.
“Assam will be under curfew from 7pm to 7am daily from Friday till further notice. Weekend lockdown on Saturdays and Sundays will be imposed in all urban areas -- except Kamrup Metro --- from this Saturday,” said the minister.
“Rural areas in the state will be exempt from weekend lockdown measures. The first seven days of the lockdown in Kamrup Metro will be extremely strict. We will have a review meeting on July 3 and decide if any relaxations can be allowed,” Sarma added.
Assam had recorded 6,646 Covid-19 positive cases till Friday noon. The state has recorded 10 deaths to date. While 4,033 Covid-19 patients have recovered from the viral infection.