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Assam govt orders strict adherence to COVID-19 SOPs after surge in cases

GUWAHATI: Assam chief secretary Jishnu Barua has ordered strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol across the state in view of the latest rise in number of cases of the viral infection in parts of the state.

Despite a declining trend in COVID-19 cases across the nation, Assam has witnessed some new cases and mortality as well over the past couple of weeks.

Under the latest SOPs, the state government has made wearing face masks and social distancing compulsory.

While Mumbai police has raised revenue to the tune of Rs 31 crore as penalty for not covering faces in public places, face masks and social distance have become a history in case of assembly poll bound Assam. Very few people are seen covering their faces during the election rallies across the state. Even health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is no exception in most cases.

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Social distancing is rarely followed anywhere in state. Educational institutions have been reopened and social distancing is hardly followed in any of them.

The chief secretary has directed the district administrations even to impose Section 144 of the CrPC to enforce social distancing.

Although spitting in public places is prohibited, even the newly inaugurated foot-overbridges here are being littered with spitting by gutkha chewers.

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Staggering of work and business hours, which is still in force according to the SOPs, have almost been abolished in all government and private sector offices. Sanitization of work places, educational institutions etc have almost become a practice of the past.

The Centre has, in the meantime, advised the states and Union Territories to increase the proportion of RT-PCR tests and subject rapid antigen negative people to mandatory retest by RT-PCR.

Strict and comprehensive surveillance, and stringent containment have been highlighted as critical to curbing spread of the disease.

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