The Assam government on March 23rd, 2020, declared lockdown in the state with effect from March 24th, 2020, to March 31st, 2020 midnight to fight against the lethal coronavirus pandemic that has claimed seven people in India so far.
Addressing a press conference, the state Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma declared the lockdown which will be in effect from 6 pm on March 24th, 2020 to March 31st, 2020 midnight.
Essential services to remain available
The essential commodities and services will remain available during the lockdown, the minister informed. This includes food (groceries, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy-related products, cattle feed and fodder), medical (medicines and other pharmaceuticals, health services, manufacturing of health and medical equipment), other services (newspapers, banks and ATMs, post offices, telecom, petrol and diesel pumps) and household services (electricity and water supply, sanitary services, LPG supply).
Punishment to rule violators
Sarma said that any person who infringes the rules will be punished with simple imprisonment for a term of six months that may extend up to two years. The violators can be booked by local police under below sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):
- Sec 188: Violation of order promulgated by Govt.
- Sec.269: Negligently doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life (Imprisonment for 6 months or fine, or both)
- Sec 270: Malignantly doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life (Imprisonment for 2 years, or fine, or both)
- Sec 271: Knowingly disobeying any quarantine rule (Imprisonment for 6 months, or fine, or both)
Meanwhile, state Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal appealed the people to cooperate with the government to prevent spread of the lethal virus.
No COVID-19 case in Assam
Assam has not reported any positive COVID-19 case to date. The virus has infected a total of 415 people and claimed seven lives so far according the Healthy Ministry.
The minister informed that a total of 169 samples have been tested for coronavirus out of which 148 were found negative and results of 21 are still awaited. Out of this samples, 83 were tested in Regional Medical Research Centre, Lahowal; 64 in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), 10 in Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) and 10 in Silchar Medical College and Hospital, the minister informed.
The health minister said though the state is ready enough to fight the spread of lethal virus peoples’ cooperation is sought. He informed that there are a total of 110 ventilators and 150 ICUs in the state for coronavirus cases. Separate isolation wards and quarantine facilities have been earmarked in all the districts of the state (3425 beds for isolation in CHC/ SDH/ MH and other govt Institutions).
Sarma further informed that three centres will be set up in Guwahati for coronavirus patients. The centres will be installed in GMC, Mohendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital and Sonapur Civil Hospital.
Hotels, IB’s will be requisitioned in every town and order has been given to DC’s to the respective districts. All University hostel, hotels might be taken over if for ed-quarantine is to be done.
On March 22nd, 2020, the government decided to lockdown 75 districts across the country till March 31st, 2020 to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Only essential services will be allowed in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties related to coronavirus. The districts where the lockdown was announced are from the states – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.