All state government employees, who have received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, have been asked to attend office from Monday. “In order to ensure smooth functioning of government offices, all employees of government of Assam who have received both the doses of Covid-19 vaccine are hereby directed to attend office from 14/06/2021 regularly by following all Covid-related protocols issued by the government,” said an order issued by commissioner and secretary to the Assam general administration department, MS Manivannan.
The state government may soon withdraw Covid-19 restrictions from several districts which have shown significant decline in the number of new Covid cases. Assam health minister Keshab Mahanta told the media here on Sunday the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will take a final call after assessing the district-wise Covid scenario.
“Our target is to ease the restrictions wherever the Covid situation has improved. Hopefully the chief minister will give his decision soon,” Mahanta said. He informed that testing and vaccination has been accelerated in all those districts and towns where the virus infection still remains relatively higher.
The current SOP in Assam imposes a ‘partial lockdown’ — giving a window period to buy essential items and carry on business activities till noon. The restrictions on inter-district passenger movement through roadways continues to affect normalcy in the state. Curfew is imposed from 1 pm to 5am everyday with a total ban on movement of individuals, except for specified emergencies and people on essential duties. But all shops and commercial establishments close at 12 noon daily.
Sources in the health department told TOI that reviving the Covid-hit economy was the primary target for which the state government won’t delay withdrawal of restrictions from selected districts. Assam has been the only state where total lockdown was not imposed even during the height of the deadly second wave, mainly to give relief to the daily wage earners and those from the financially weaker sections.
A senior health official said the districts that encompass vast rural areas including Majuli, West Karbi Anglong and Charaideo may get the relaxation in the first phase due to lower number of daily cases and active caseload. “Since insignificant number of Covid cases are being reported from a few districts, there is no point of keeping them under partial lockdown measures. Three districts are absolutely safe. Five more districts will possibly come under the safe category this week,” he added.
The official said the state health department has embarked on last phase of testing during the second wave, to bring out maximum positive cases even from the remotest areas. As an outcome, over 1.5 lakh tests per day have been carried out in the last couple of days.
Out of the state’s 33 districts, 21 recorded less than 1,000 positive cases between June 3-12, indicating noticeable recovery. During this period, Kamrup (Metropolitan) district registered the highest number of 3,391 cases, followed by Cachar (3,147 cases), Tinsukia (2,512 cases) and Dibrugarh (2,394 cases). From the bottom, West Karbi Anglong had only 137 cases in 10 days, while the corresponding figure for Majuli is 200. South Salmara-Mancachar district bordering Bangladesh has recorded 226 cases during the period. Several tribal inhabited districts in the Bodoland Territorial Region are also showing lesser number of cases and may get the relaxations in the new SOP expected soon.