Assam government has declared a complete lockdown in the state starting 6pm on March 24 to fight COVID-19 spread. The lockdown will continue till midnight of March 31.
Informing this at a press conference in Guwahati on March 23, state Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “Time has come for tough decisions. From 6pm tomorrow till midnight of March 31, there will be full lockdown.”
“Only grocery shops, pharmacies and petrol depots will be open during this period. Rest all will be closed,” he said, adding that essential services, like hospitals, Public Health Engineering department, Electricity, Telecom etc, will be exempted from the lockdown.
He further said, “People cannot come out on the roads during this period and will have to stay at their homes. Any violation will lead to punishment under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code, which would be imprisonment of six months for first violation and two years imprisonment for second offence.”
In view of financial year closure on March 31, treasury offices, banks, and skeleton staff of other offices necessary in this regard will be attending office, Sarma said.
The minister informed that all borders of the state will be sealed, and only essential goods carrying vehicles will be allowed to pass.
In case of religious institutions, assembly of not more than three persons will be allowed at a given point of time, he said.
“The government is aware of the possible economic impact of the lockdown. We will update more on this at a later stage,” the minister added.
No positive case of COVID-19 has been detected in the state so far, though the state government has been adopting heightened precautionary measures to ensure no outbreak of the pandemic in the state.