Stricter containment rules in two Assam districts with highest new COVID-19 cases

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Jorhat/ Golaghat, Jul 12 (PTI) Containment measures in Assams Jorhat and Golaghat districts, which reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases on Sunday in the state, have been further tightened as the daily count continued to be on the rise in these two neighbouring districts, despite being declared as containment zones on July 7.

Barring pharmacies, veterinary clinics, milk vending and paper delivery services, all other activities in Jorhat district have been banned for the next two days, beginning Monday, Jorhat deputy commissioner (DC) Ashok Kumar Barman said.

'Some essential services, like grocery shops and wholesale markets, were exempted initially. But people were using these exemptions as excuses and violating the COVID-19 protocols,' he said.

People who have received confirmation after booking a slot at a vaccination centre will only be allowed to come out, the deputy commissioner said.

Jorhat has set a target of administering 15,000 vaccines on Monday.

Warning of stringent action against violation of COVID-19 protocols, Jorhat superintendent of police (SP) Ankur Jain said, 'People are coming out for morning and evening walks. All the walks will now end at the police station.

'Many people come out with false documents of being associated with essential services or some fake emergency.

When such people are caught, they will be punished as per provisions of law,' he added.

The SP said foot patrol was being conducted by security forces, including CRPF personnel, in the morning as well as in the evening hours.

People in rural areas tend to come out in greater numbers from 4 pm to 7 pm, so in those areas foot patrol is undertaken in the evening, he said.

'We have been fighting COVID-19 for one-and-a-half- years now. People are not ignorant of the protocols. It is not correct to ignore the rules,' Jain said, urging the people of the district to cooperate in enforcing the guidelines.

Meanwhile, similar strict containment orders will also be enforced for the next two days from Tuesday in neighbouring Golaghat district.

An order issued by the deputy commissioner, in his capacity as the chairman, District Disaster Management Authority, on Monday said 'all grocery shops, retail shops, vegetable and fruit vendors expect pharmacy and milk vending points will remain closed for two days on July 13 and 14 in the entire district'.

The decision was in view of the rising trend of COVID-19 cases in the district and to stop the spread of the disease, the order added.

Jorhat and Golaghat have been under containment since July 7, along with five other districts of the state, due to the daily spike in COVID-19 cases.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Sunday reviewed the situation in the high-risk districts through a video conference with the DCs, SPs and senior Health officials, asking the district authorities to use drones to monitor areas where crowds assemble, among other preventive measures.

These two districts reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with 185 cases detected in Jorhat and 180 in Golaghat, as per the National Health Mission, Assam, bulletin on Sunday evening.

No COVID-19 deaths were, however, recorded in these two districts on Sunday.

Altogether 1,579 new COVID-19 positive cases were detected in the state on Sunday, with deaths during the day being 16, according to the NHM bulletin. PTI COR SSG MM MM

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