Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma addressing a press conference in Guwahati on Monday

Guwahati: Guwahati: Amid the global coronavirus threat, the Assam government is all set to impose a complete lockdown of the state from 6 pm on March 24 to March 31. This was announced by health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during a media briefing in Guwahati on Monday evening.

“So far, 169 tests have been done till 4 pm today [Monday]. Of that, 148 have been found to be negative; 21 results are awaited,” he said.

Only pharmacies (chemist shops), petrol pumps and grocery shops will be open during this period, Sarma said.

Domestic flights will be restricted and rail services will be shut. Private transport, except ambulances, cargo and commercial vehicles, will not be allowed to ply during this period, said Sarma.

All borders will be sealed and inter-state transport will be stopped. Skeletal staff will attend offices of banks, treasury, financial transaction for offices. However, essential services and ATMs will continue to be there, Sarma said.

All religious gatherings will stop in all places of worship. “Assam govt is aware of the economic impact for taking these steps. We will come out with an economic plan in the next couple of days. Lockdown till March 31 will be economically manageable but anything beyond that will be look into by the government,” Sarma said.

“We are alive to the economic impact. We will come out with a mitigation plan,” Sarma said.

Barpeta and Tezpur medical college and hospital will get coronavirus testing facilities this week,” he added.

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