There has been a 'carefree attitude' among the people, no one is seen seen wearing masks, says Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna

Guwahati: Assam chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna hinted at a possible lockdown in the state again on Friday. “It has come to our notice that people have stopped wearing masks in public places,” said Krishna, while addressing the media.

Speaking about the behaviour of the public, the chief secretary said, “We see a carefree attitude in the people and there is a rise in the number of deaths of people affected by the virus.”

“If the situation doesn’t improve and there is a rise in the number of deaths, the government will be bound to impose lockdown again,” Krishna said while elaborating on the government’s position in curtailing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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The top official at the Assam state government also explained about the age group of people who succumbed to the virus. “There is a misconception that only patients above the age of 65 years have died due to COVID-19. However, we have seen many deaths of young people as well. Everyone needs to understand the severity of the situation,” he said.

“We may have to ask police to charge Rs 1,000 as fine from people seen without masks in public places,” added Krishna, while stressing on stricter norms to implement safety guidelines.

Speaking about the reopening of educational institutions in the state from next month, Krishna said, “We are still deliberating on the issue. All teachers have been asked to report for duty from September 1 but we are yet to make a final decision on students.”

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Earlier, guidelines were released for relaxation for lockdown due to the COVID-19 lockdown on August 13. “All permitted activities mentioned in our earlier orders shall continue to be allowed between 5 am and 9 pm between Monday and Friday. Restrictions of one side of the street are withdrawn,” stated the order.

Furthermore, persons above the age of 65 and children below 10 years of age were also advised to stay indoors except for unavoidable health reasons. Wearing face covers is mandatory in public places, workplaces, and public transport. The state is still kept under lockdown during the weekends and curfew at night from 9 pm to 5 am throughout the week.

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Already, three districts — Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi — in Assam are under lockdown for nine days starting from August 26 till September 5. According to Cachar deputy commissioner Keerthi Jalli, the lockdown is pressed to “break the chain” of community spread of COVID-19 virus in Barak Valley where cases are rising at a rapid rate.

Meanwhile, Assam reported 2,036 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths as of August 27. The positivity rate was 5.57 percent. Of the 2,036 confirmed cases, 481 cases are from Kamrup district, 146 from Jorhat, 129 from Dibrugarh, and 110 from Hailakandi. With this, the total number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 98,807 in the state, of which 21,564 are still active and 76,962 have recovered so far. The death toll stands at 278.

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