The Assam government on Tuesday imposed night curfew across the state — from 8 pm to 5 am – with immediate effect, as part of its efforts to control the surge in Covid-19 cases. The state disaster management authority, in its order, said the curfew will be in place till May 1.
"The COVID-19 situation in Assam has been reviewed…It has been observed that there has been a rapid increase in the number of active cases of COVID-19 across the state.
"…and therefore, it is felt that night curfew needs to be imposed in all districts of Assam, except for essential and emergency activities/services," the order signed by Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua said. Barring some exceptions, movement of individuals will not be allowed during the curfew period.
The state government has also ordered all market places and shops to down shutters by 6 pm, and face mask has been made mandatory for everyone, including a person driving alone in a car. The order further said that any individual violating the norms will be penalised in accordance with Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (violation of restrictive measures attracting imprisonment up to one year or a fine or both), and legal action will be initiated under Section 188 of the IPC (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) among other provisions.
It, however, exempted people involved in providing emergency services at medical establishments, police forces, prisons, fire brigade, district administrations, and public transport and other offices. Judicial officers and staff of courts, all passengers with valid tickets, journalists and people out to get their vaccine doses have also been kept out of the curfew's ambit.
"There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement/transportation of essential/non-essential goods. No separate permission/e-pass will be required," the order stated. Also, movement of people for providing essential services and commodities like groceries, fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and fish, fodder and medicines won't be restricted.
Those associated with banks, insurance offices, internet services, fuel depots, cold storage and security services have also not been exempted, the order added. Meanwhile, Education Department Commissioner and Secretary Preetom Saikia, in a notification, has asked district administrations to shut down all educational institutes and hostels for a fortnight if the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in areas under their jurisdiction crosses 300 in a span of 10 days.
Assam reported 15 fresh fatalities due to COVID-19 on Monday, while the total number of cases rose to 2,40,670 with 3,137 more people testing positive for the disease.