Lockdown Returns: Here are the Do's and Don'ts
“Complete lockdown will be imposed on Guwahati from the midnight of 28th June for 14 days. The rise in the number of cases in Guwahati is alarming. And it has been brought to my notice that people are not following the Covid protocols sincerely. The gathering of people (adda), mostly in the evening, is gradually coming back like normal times and people have even crowded the highways. So the government, although with utmost reluctance, had to decide to impose strict lockdown for two weeks,” announced health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in a press interaction on 26th June.
Although people of the city have observed lockdowns earlier, along with the entire nation, the upcoming lockdown is to be completely different given that even essential commodities, except pharmacies, milk and emergency services like health and fire, will not be available for the first 7 days.
Apart from Guwahati, the state government has also taken up measures to curb the spread of the dreaded virus in the other districts of Assam.
Below are some of the added restrictions imposed in this all-Guwahati lockdown, and on other districts of the state.
Vegetables, fish, meat, grocery, other essentials to remain closed for first 7 days
No grocery essentials, meat, fish or vegetable stores will be allowed to open for the first 7 days of the lockdown. However, these would be exempted from the lockdown 7 days later, although the final decision on this is still pending.
“Those willing to buy these essentials must do it within today or tomorrow,” said Sarma. Only pharmacies along with milk and baby food will remain available and open throughout the lockdown.
Inter-district travel to and from Guwahati suspended for 14 days
Inter-district and intra-district travel has also been suspended, but only to and from Guwahati. However, inter-district travel across other districts will continue during this period.
No special passes will be allowed under any circumstances, but vehicles carrying patients will be allowed. Also vehicles that would be returning to the respective districts after dropping the patient at Guwahati will have to carry a medical report of prescription of the patient that would serve as the pass.
As certain train and flight services will be continuing this period of 14 days, people travelling to and from the railway station and airport will have to provide their tickets as passes. Also vehicles returning after dropping of passengers will have to show a copy of the passenger's ticket as pass.
Curfew to remain in force from 7 PM to 7 AM in Assam
Curfew will remain in force from 7 PM to 7 AM all over Assam starting 26th June. However pharmacies will be exempted.
Weekend Lockdown to be imposed across all towns & municipalities of Assam
Himanta Biswa Sarma also announced Weekend Lockdown for all districts of Assam except Kamrup (Metropolitan), with effect from 27th June.
This new concept of Weekend Lockdown will be implemented in all town committee areas and municipalities across Assam (except Guwahati for now) until further notice or “till the pandemic is over,” said Sarma. However, this will not affect the areas under village panchayats.
A complete list of the activities prohibited and those exempted within the jurisdiction of Kamrup (M):
1. Movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited in the specified area;
2. All Government Offices, Offices of Autonomous/Subordinate Offices and Private Offices shall remain closed;
3. All business/commercial establishments, shops and trade activities shall remain closed;
4. All Industrial establishments shall remain closed;
5. All public transport services shall remain suspended;
6. Movement of all Private vehicles is banned;
7. All hospitality services shall remain suspended;
8. All educational, research, training, coaching institutions shall remain closed;
9. All places of worship shall remain closed for public. No religious congregation will be permitted without any exception;
10. All social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions, gathering shall be barred;
11. Not more than 20 persons will be permitted in case of funerals;
12. All non-essential and avoidable movement of people shall be banned;
13. Spitting in public places is banned and will be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the local authority in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations;
1. Defence, Central and State Police forces, Establishment of the District Magistrate, Commissioner of Police, Home Guards, Civil Defence, Fire & Emergency Services, Disaster Management, Electricity, Water, Sanitation, Municipal bodies (only staff required for essential services like sanitation, water supply etc.) will be allowed to function;
2. Hospitals and retail medical establishments;
3. Only 10 (ten) % of Bank branches in the District with skeletal attendance and ATMs shall operate. Highest Authority of the Banks shall determine the specific branches and give wide publicity of open bank branches;
4. Print and electronic media including newspaper distribution are allowed. However, it is advised that minimum number of persons shall only come out in the open;
5. Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and IT enabled services to continue. However, personnel engaged in these services are allowed to work from home only. Only emergency repair crew would be allowed movement subject to prior permission/ pass from appropriate authority;
6. Power generation, transmission and distribution units, and services shall continue with persons with specifically assigned duties being allowed to come out;
7. Transportation of essential goods, vehicles of Health, Fire, Law & Order and Emergency Services are allowed;
8. All transport services and movement of people from other districts shall remain suspended except that connected to COVID functions. Inter-state movement shall also remain suspended except with prior permissions/ pass;
9. People (Interstate and inter District movement) holding train/air tickets to and from Guwahati as well to Guwahati shall be allowed to move only on production of such tickets at check points;
10. Hotels which are accommodating quarantined persons, medical and emergency staff, air crew shall operate with skeletal service;
11. Establishments used /earmarked for quarantine facilities shall operate;
12. All officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above shall attend office in Assam Secretariat regularly. Other officers and employees shall be asked to attend office on need based instruction issued by the senior-most secretary of the Department. Directors shall decide on the number of skeletal officers and staff to attend for functioning of Directorates.
13. Government officers and employees who are directed specifically by their Controlling Officers will only be allowed with documentary evidence of such permission / orders. Rest of Government functionaries shall work from home. Only those Government officers and employees connected with the aforementioned exempted categories would be allowed to come to office/ workplaces.
14. Milk, baby food, medicines and water supply are allowed on specific areas and time;
15. Railway offices and persons directly linked with operation of passenger and goods trains shall be allowed to operate on being so assigned;
16. Continuous process industries would be allowed to function, subject to workforce staying in the premises and outwards/ inwards movement during the period of lockdown shall not be allowed;
17. Only identified Petrol pumps, gas agencies would be allowed to be operational during Lockdown. LPG agencies shall distribute products at home Customers' homes only.
18. Petroleum products to other districts would be allowed to move through Highways.
19. Agricultural and Tea garden activities shall continue with social distancing.
20. Lockdown permissions/ passes issued earlier stand cancelled. Fresh permissions /passes shall have to be obtained from competent authority;
21. No person(s) shall be allowed to venture out simply on the ground of being employed in the exempted category of services.
The permissions granted to persons/ services/ activities may be withdrawn at any time without assigning any reason or any advance notice. All other activities other those specified as exempted above will remain prohibited in the entire area until further orders.
Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizer will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas. Wearing of face cover is compulsory in public places, in workplaces and during transport etc.
Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.
The Commissioner of Police/District Magistrate of Kamrup Metropolitan will strictly enforce the above measures without any dilution as these measures are in place to avoid dangers to a large group of public.