With air and train services set to resume near-normal operations, the Assam government is contemplating closing the inter-state borders for road transport, except for goods and emergency services.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati on May 24, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The flights are resuming from tomorrow, and more trains will run from June. So there is no need for people to spend up to lakh of rupees to hire vehicles and come by road. They also reach here at all odd hours, creating inconvenience for everyone.”
“The state government could close the border at Srirampur (bordering West Bengal) for vehicles, except goods and emergency services, from June 2. We will take a decision soon,” he added.
The minister had earlier maintained that people coming by road were accounting for major chuck of COVID-19 positive cases in the state as they were not following social distancing norms, with the state government even contemplating urging other states not to allow passage to vehicles that do not adhere to social distancing and hygiene norms.
Sarma further said with air services to resume from May 25, the state has made 14 days quarantine mandatory for all returnees, as in the case of people coming by road and train.
While the returnees will have to stay in institutional quarantine for first seven days or till their swab test reports come, the next part of the 14 days can be completed in home quarantine.
Among the air passengers exempted from quarantine are pilots, crew and anyone related to operation of flights, and any passenger who will be returning the same evening.
Also, anyone coming on government duty shall be exempted, with the relevant department having to arrange for accommodation of the personnel at isolated places and ensure there is no intermingling with other people.
People whose parents are hospitalized or have come for funeral of closest kin, people above 75 years of age, pregnant women, parents travelling with child below 10 years of age and divyangs will be directly sent for home quarantine.
Also people who had returned from abroad and completed mandatory quarantine in the city of arrival, and people who have tested negative for COVID-19 through RT-PCR test up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Assam will also be allowed to go for home quarantine.