Dispur, April 21: Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua has said even though the COVID-19 positive cases are fast rising, the situation in the State is still not alarming.

“The next seven to eight days will be very crucial. We have to wait and see how the situation turns up. If the situation turns worse, we will have to take very harsh decisions,” said Jishnu Barua.

Addressing a joint press conference at the Janata Bhawan, Jishnu Barua released the fresh guidelines for checking COVID-19 in the State. During the conference, the Chief Secretary said that the guidelines would be implemented on an experimental basis up to April 30.

“The situation would be reviewed after three or four days,” Jishnu Barua said, adding that barring pharmacies, all shops, shopping complexes, and market places would be closed from 6 pm daily.

However, the new guidelines will not be enforceable across the State. The DCS (Deputy Commissioners) will enforce the guidelines strictly and effectively in those districts where the number of active-positive patients is 100 or more.

Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua also said that each air passenger is being tested in the airports across the state irrespective of their COVID-19 status when they had remained outside Assam. He further stated that the truck drivers are being tested at the Srirampur and Chagolia inter-State check gates, adding that drivers at the truck terminus in the State are also being tested.

Principal Secretary (Health), Samir Kumar Sinha said that while the State had recorded only 25 positive cases on March 21, 2021, the figures rose to 1,367 on April 19, 2021.

“This spike in COVID-19 cases took place during the last 10 days. The positivity rate shot up from 0.57% to 2.75%. Kamrup (Metro) the district recorded the highest number of 2,670 cases followed by Dibrugarh with 448 cases,” added Sinha.

He further said that in the last 10 days, while 20,000 (on average) people were vaccinated, 40,000 people tested for COVID. “We have enough vaccines. There was a shortage in the middle of this month. The percentage of vaccination damage in the State is very less than the national average,” informed Sinha.

Director-General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that mere framing rules would not be enough unless they are enforced effectively on the ground. He said that the police alone cannot enforce the rules unless the departments concerned as well as the public extend their support to the authorities.

The DGP also warned that the police would come down heavily on those who willfully violate the new COVID-safety guidelines issued by the Assam Government.

Check out the guidelines

GATHERINGS:

  1. All market places or supermarkets or shops in the malls or weekly markets should be closed by 6 pm.
  2. Open functions to be allowed with the permission of the district authority subject to strict adherence to COVID-appropriate behavior, including wearing face masks, maintaining respiratory etiquette, practicing hand hygiene through frequent hand washing or hand sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing (6 feet). While granting such permission, the district authority will assess the public bearing capacity of the open space and allow gathering of only 50% of its capacity or 400 persons, whichever is lower.
  3. In closed venues, gatherings up to 50% of the seating capacity to be allowed.
  4. No standing audience shall be allowed in open or closed venues.
  5. The number of guests in private functions at private venues including marriages to be restricted to 100 persons.
  6. Funeral or last rites-related gatherings should ensure not more than 20 persons for each deceased.
  7. Religious places or places of worship should be allowed to be operated with 20 persons per hour, except the iconic religious places where it can be 50 persons per hour. However, if any religious place has only a small area, the management committee of such religious institutions shall reduce the number of attendees accordingly.
  8. All market places or supermarkets or shops in the malls or weekly markets should be closed by 6 pm.

WORKPLACES (GOVERNMENT & PRIVATE)

  1. Working from home and virtual working should be encouraged.
  2. Except for officers, only 50% of employees can work from the office. However, this will not be applicable for organizations rendering essential/emergency services, law enforcement services, and election work.
  1. Meetings in official chambers to be discouraged.
  2. Pregnant women employees and women with children of five years or below — irrespective of their grade — shall be allowed to work from home.
  3. Social distancing at workplaces should be ensured through adequate gaps between shifts, staggering of lunch breaks of staff, etc.
  4. Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash, and sanitizer be made at all entry and exit points and common areas. In addition, sufficient quantities of handwash and sanitizer should be made available in the workplaces.
  5. Frequent sanitization of the entire workplace, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact should be carried out.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS (GOVERNMENT & PRIVATE)

  1. All educational institutions including schools/colleges/universities must provide quality virtual options.
  2. Not more than 50% of students should attend in person on any day.
  3. Schools should stagger class timings so that large-scale release of students doesn’t arise.
  4. There will be no morning assembly/special assembly etc., in the educational institutions.
  5. Preference to be given on online mode of teaching for primary classes.
  6. The education department will issue detailed guidelines/SOPs for uninterrupted education service keeping in view the COVID-19 precautionary measures.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT (GOVERNMENT &PRIVATE)

  1. All Public transport authorities shall enforce COVID-19 appropriate behavior and seating inside the vehicles, carriers, containers, etc.
  2. Auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and taxis shall operate with one driver and two passengers maintaining social distancing.
  3. City buses, intra-district, inter-district, and inter-State buses will be allowed to operate with 50% of seating capacity.
  4. No passenger shall be allowed to travel standing in any vehicle.
  5. Wearing of face masks and observance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviors will be mandatory for all passengers.

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. Wearing face masks is compulsory in all public places.
  2. Shop owners shall ensure a minimum of six feet the distance among customers and shall not allow more than five persons inside the shop. In addition, shop owners should compulsorily keep sanitizers and hand wash in their shops.

  3. Shopkeepers and customers shall have to wear face masks, hand gloves and maintain social distancing. Responsibility for the maintenance of social distancing will be on the shop owner; and, failure to do so will be viewed very seriously and may entail summary closure of defaulting shops.
  4. Barbershops, salons, and parlors shall continue to provide service with strict compliance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviors such as wearing face masks, face cover, hand gloves.
  5. Industrial units and tea gardens may function subject to the observance of COVID-appropriate behavior. Heads of the units/tea gardens shall be responsible for ensuring social distancing, face mask-wearing by workers and staff, sanitization of industrial premises, thermal scanning, etc.