Assam government tightens COVID restrictions, non-vaccinated people banned from visiting public places


GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Monday issued an order tightening restrictions to contain spread of COVID-19 in the state and banning entry of non-vaccinated people to public places, except hospitals.

It also directed authorities to shut schools for up to class 8 students.

The government asked citizens to carry proof of vaccination while going to public places.

These restrictions will come into effect from 6 am of January 25, the order said.

“The status of COVID-19 in the state has again been reviewed and it has been observed that the number of COVID-19 cases has been gradually increasing over the last few days thereby increasing the positivity rate,” Officiating Chief Secretary P K Borthakur said in the order.

Accordingly, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) issued a new set of guidelines that are to be followed to arrest the spread of COVID-19, and it will remain in force until further order.

Physical classes in “all schools up to class 8 in all districts shall be suspended and all such educational institutions shall migrate to virtual options until further orders”, it said.

Classes in schools have been allowed “on alternate days for class IX and above” in all districts.

“All educational institutions including schools/colleges/universities shall continue to provide quality virtual options,” the new order said.

The ASDMA said non-vaccinated people will not be allowed to enter public places, except hospitals.

“All people are required to carry proof of being fully vaccinated while visiting public places/spaces. The owners of public/private establishments shall be responsible for ensuring that only those entrants who are fully vaccinated are allowed inside and this has to be done scrupulously by checking their vaccination status.”

“Failure to do so shall attract penal action,” the government order said.

It also stated all government servants, including contractual workers, should be inoculated with both doses of vaccines to attend office.

“Employees who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to attend office and they will have to avail leave, if available or extraordinary leave for which they will not be paid salary,” ASDMA said.

In case of marriages and meetings, up to 200 people or 50 per cent of capacity of a venue, whichever is less, will be allowed.

Up to 60 fully vaccinated people will be permitted to enter iconic religious places in an hour, while the limit is 40 for other such places.

Those who have received the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines will be allowed to enter cinema and theatre halls but the maximum entry is restricted to only 50 per cent of the seating capacity of these facilities.

The night curfew will continue from 10 pm to 6 am across the state and all workplaces and commercial establishments will have to be shut down by 9 pm, the ASDMA added.

Assam on Monday registered more than a 2.5-fold jump in fresh COVID-19 cases over the previous day’s count as 5,902 more people tested positive for the disease, taking the tally to 6,98,713, the National Health Mission (NHM) said.

Eighteen more people succumbed to the infection during the day, as against 13 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday.

The state’s positivity rate, however, decreased to 10.44 per cent as 56,519 samples were tested for COVID-19, the daily media bulletin said.

Assam had recorded 2,277 cases and 12.57 per cent positivity rate against the testing of 18,117 samples on Sunday.

Kamrup Metropolitan district, which primarily comprises Guwahati city, reported 1,044 fresh cases against 771 infections on the previous day.

The NHM bulletin said 5,625 people recovered from the disease during the day.

In Assam, 6,46,972 COVID-19 patients have so far recovered from COVID-19.

The total number of deaths caused by COVID-19 has gone up to 7,666, including 1,347 with co-morbidities, NHM said.

Currently, the state has 44,075 active coronavirus cases.

Out of the new cases, 1,044 were detected from Kamrup Metropolitan, followed by 314 in Dibrugarh, 293 in Jorhat, and 267 in Golaghat.

The overall positivity rate in the state stands at 2.53 per cent against total testing of 2,76,11,266 samples so far.

The NHM bulletin said 4,08,35,211 doses of vaccines have been administered thus far in the state.