The Assam government on Tuesday announced a complete lockdown in seven districts where the positivity rates of Covid-19 cases are high. The government imposed a round-the-clock curfew in Goalpara, Golaghat, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Biswanath and Morigaon as the number of coronavirus cases in these districts continued to increase despite imposition of certain restrictions earlier, Health and Family Welfare Minister Keshab Mahanta said.
These districts have been brought under the containment zones, he said at a press conference. Rural and tea garden areas in these districts have been reporting a substantial number of Covid-19 cases, the minister said.
According to him, the positivity rates in the seven districts were recorded between 2.68 per cent and 5.64 per cent in the last few days. There will be a total ban on the movement of all public and private transport in these districts, though goods vehicles will be allowed to operate, he said.
All the workplaces, business and commercial establishments, shops, restaurants and other eateries, cold storages and warehouses will be closed till further order in these districts where high positivity rates prevail, Mahanta said. These facilities will remain open up to 1 pm every day in 16 other districts where 'moderate' COVID positivity rates have been recorded, and the curfew will remain in force from 2 pm to 5 am.
These districts include Sivasagar, Dibrugarh, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Nalbari, Baksa, Bajali, Kamrup, Darang, Nagaon, Hojai, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Cachar, Karimganj and Karbi Anglong. Sivasagar and Dibrugarh districts will be kept under a strict vigil for the next one week by the authorities, Mahanta said.
The curfew will also be enforced from 5 pm to 5 am in Dhubri, Kamrup Metro, South Salmara, Majuli, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Udalguri, West Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao, Charaideo and Hailakandi where the Covid-19 situation has improved, the minister said. Business establishments will be allowed to operate up to 4 pm in these districts, he said.
All inter-district passenger transport services will remain suspended. The government banned public gatherings in the districts which fall under the containment zones, while up to 10 people are allowed for marriage and funeral programmes in other places.
Wearing of face mask is compulsory in public places, and other restrictions such as the odd-even formula for plying of vehicles will continue to remain in force, the minister said. These restrictions will come into effect from July 7 and will remain effective until further orders, he said.
The minister appealed to parents who have children below 18 years of age to be cautious as they can spread the disease among minors who are not yet vaccinated. Over 36,000 children have contracted the disease so far in Assam and at present, there are 2,890 active patients below 18 years of age, he said.
Altogether, 38 children have succumbed to the disease so far. Most of them either had comorbidities or were suffering from congenital diseases, the minister added. Assam currently has 22,243 active cases, and the overall positivity rate stands at 2.37 per cent.
The total caseload in the northeastern state stood at 5,19,834 till Monday, while the death toll due to the infection was at 4,683, and 4,91,561 people have recovered from the disease.