Assam Builds ‘Wall’ Against Coronavirus, Shuts Down Public Hubs to Discourage Gatherings
When China announced the lockdown of Wuhan and most of the surrounding Hubei province due to the rapidly spreading epidemic, the news was greeted with astonishment around the world.
However nearly two months later, most of the countries including the states of India have also stepped up the vigil by examining suspected cases and have also spread awareness drives.
Meanwhile in Assam, the state government has taken up the humongous task of keeping its citizens safe from this deadly virus.
Step by step and in phases so as not to create panic among the public, the government has restricted the movement of public in commercial establishments and state government offices.
It is to be mentioned that on March 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his address to the nation, said, "The entire nation should follow a Janata Curfew on the March 22 starting from 7 AM to 9 PM."
With the aim to fight the novel Coronavirus, PM Modi has declared this curfew calling it a step “by the people, for the people.”
He has asked the countrymen to stay inside their houses during curfew hours, especifically those above 60 years of age.
Assam Secretariat restricts entry of all visitors
The Assam state secretariat has prohibited the entry of all daily visitors inside the secretariat premises till March 31 as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus in the state.
An order was issued in this regard which stated, “The concerned private secretaries of the Hon’ble ministers are requested to issue passes to the visitors for entry in the Ministers’ Colony only after obtaining the permission from respective Hon’ble minister.”
It is to be mentioned that the state secretariat had earlier limited the number of daily visitors to Janata Bhawan 100 people till March 31.
Minister of state for health Pijush Hazarika was seen waiting at the secretariat gate on Wednesday pleading with visitors not to visit the complex as a precautionary measure against spread of coronavirus. No coronavirus case has been reported so far in the state.
Kamrup (M) district admin asks religious institutions to restrict visitors
The Kamrup (Metro) district administration has requested the temple authorities of Kamakhya and Umananda temples to restrict the number of visitors entering the premises on a daily basis.
Further, it has also asked them not to organise any programmes in the premises which might attract large crowds of devotees.
Meanwhile, the government has also asked the Muslim community to avoid offering namaz in community mosques. But now the question that arises here is whether the Muslims will adhere to it or not.
Going by the books of Islam, it is mandatory for people who come to mosque to worship should stand in one line irrespective of social status and offer ‘namaz’ but how feasible it is in Coronavirus time.
Going by the books of Islam, it is mandatory for people who come to mosque to worship that they stand in one line irrespective of social status and offer namaz.
According to reports, the Burra Masjid in Ambari had set up screening desks at the gates of the mosques and also provided hand sanitizers and health officials were seen checking temperature of every individual who entered the masjid.
Speaking to G Plus, Nijamul Houque, General Secretary of Ambari Burra Masjid, urged people to offer prayers from home.
Noticeably, with the Coronavirus scare the footfall at the masjid had decreased a lot as compared to previous weeks.
Beauty parlours, unisex salons and bars also asked to shut down
As a further measure to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the state of Assam, the government of Assam has issued instructions to all deputy commissioners to close all liquor bar (Country bar) nightclub/beauty parlours/salon (Unisex) immediately.
Meanwhile, the government of Assam has directed all 'Bars and Pubs’ in Guwahati to remain closed till 31st March.
A notification from EXCOM, Assam states, "All IMFL "ON" shops to remain closed up to 31st March, 2020 with immediate effect and until further orders.”
GMC appeals citizens to avoid spitting, flying squad deployed to detect violators
The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) appealed to the people not to spit on roads, pavements or other public places in the city.
The notice stated, "Spitting on the streets might be a cause of the spread of coronavirus. Hence, the people are hereby appealed not to spit and litter the city."
The notice also stated that any person found spitting would be penalized, “The Flying Squad has already been pressed into service to detect violators of the rule.”
Assam state museum, state zoo, parks temporarily shut down
The Assam State Museum and State Zoo in Guwahati have been temporarily shut down by the authorities.
As per the directive of the government of Assam, the Assam State Museum, all the district museums and other museums under the directorate of museums will remain closed from March 17-31 with a view to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus in the state.
Additionally, it is to be mentioned that parks under Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) will remain closed temporarily to public.
Parks including Shraddhanjali Kanan, Nehru Park, Panbazar, TR Phookan Park, Bharalumukh, Sankardev Udyan, Bharalumukh, Bastra Udyan, Sualkuchi and Saraighat War Memorial Park, Agyathuri will remain closed.
It is to be mentioned that even the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has postponed CBSE Class 12, and Class 10 Board exams due to Coronavirus outbreak in India.
The Class 10, Class 12 CBSE Board exams will now be rescheduled after March 31.
The decision comes after the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) ordered CBSE to postpone exams.
Meanwhile, JEE Mains will also get rescheduled and new dates of would be announced after 31st March, 2020, the ministry said in a statement.
Aadhaar enrolment centres closed
On March 20, the state government decided to close all Aadhaar registration centres across the state till March 31, 2020.
The step has been taken to ensure that the mandatory biometric collection system does not contribute to spreading infection.
A notification from the Commissioner Secretary of the State General Administration department reads, "As collection of biometrics is mandatory for Aadhaar Enrolment/Update and as collection of such biometrics is likely to aggravate the spread of Corona Virus (COVID-19) amongst the inhabitants/citizens of the State, the General Administration Department, Govt. of Assam, in the interest of public services, has decided to close all Aadhaar Enrolment Centres in the State with immediate effect upto 315' March, 2020 as a preventive measure to arrest the spread of Corona Virus ( COVID-19) in the State.”
It needs to be mentioned here that Aadhaar centres in many parts of the country have already been closed because of the pandemic.
Post PM Modi's speech, Guwahatians rush to stock up daily needs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on coronavirus on March 19 evening sent Guwahatians rushing to their nearest stores to stock up.
In his speech PM Modi said that on 22nd March, from 7 am to 9 pm, all countrymen have to follow 'Janta Curfew' and also urged that if possible, they should call at least 10 people every day and appdise them about the 'Janta Curfew' as well as the measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
March 22 being a Sunday Guwahatians went on a scramble today itself to buy essential commodities including vegetables and meat.
Post the speech, reports came in from several areas of Guwahati like Six Mile, Kahilipara, Beltola, Uzan Bazar that people had already started thronging most of the shops to buy the grocery items.
On the other hand, many of the ration shops in Fancy Bazaar, Athgaon areas are keeping their shutters down. "We have over 50 orders pending and will only open once we've delivered the pending orders," one of the owners told G Plus.
Meanwhile, PM Modi appealed to all not to go into panic buying to store essential commodities as steps are being taken to ensure that there is no scarcity.
However the question that seems to be looming in the minds of Guwahatians is how long fresh vegetables and other items will be available in the coming days given the impact of demand and supply.