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Assam: People disregard covid19 norms, break restrictions

Economic activities may have resumed as part of the three-phase Unlock 1.0, which will come to an end today, but people continue to flout the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus in many parts of Assam. 

They seem quite unaware of the rising positive cases of a novel coronavirus in the state and especially in the capital Guwahati due to which a 14-day ” total lockdown ” began in all areas falling under Assam Kamrup Metro district including Guwahati from 7 pm on Sunday in a bid to arrest the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state which will be over at 6 pm on July 12. 

Although Guwahati, Assam records 41 COVID – 19 cases and state tally reaches 7835 on Tuesday, physical distancing norms are seldom followed.
 A large number of people can also be seen roaming on the streets without masks. People taking shelter at hundreds of flood relief centres after the second flush of flood this monsoon are also seen not following the norms as they have been suffering from panic and disrupted due to the flood which has damaged their houses and properties. 

Also read: COVID-19 impact: Assam cabinet revises academic year to April-March

 Experts fear that people stepping out of their houses unnecessarily may lead to a further rise in the number of cases, which have already crossed the 1000-mark in 60 days. It reported the first case on March 31st 2020. It recorded 102 cases on June. 

Senior ATTSA leader Irot Tanti , has urged the government to come up with strict rules and punish people for violating them. “The situation has become so serious that doctors are getting infected too. The frontline workers should be tested at least twice a month. Besides, the government should introduce antibody testing in order to detect more cases,” He told Inside NE. 

Women Rights’ Activist in the Northeast, Sheela Russio also demanded “strict action against people roaming on the streets without masks”. She said, “Rebuilding the economy is okay, but playing with the lives of people is not fair. Now, a number of traders with shops in  many places are planning to shut their establishments due to the fear of contracting Covid-19.” 
Vrindavan Shah, a trader in Tinsukia, said , “Unlock 1.0 hardly brought any difference because as we are still struggling. We cannot risk our lives and get nothing in return.” 

Eateries, hotels and salons are also struggling to return to normalcy. Vishal, hospitality manager of a restaurant , said most customers were scared of eating outside due to the fear of getting infected. 

The employee of a hotel in Assam, Brajesh Kumar, also pointed out that the number of visitors had gone down considerably. “We have very few visitors nowadays. Only some loyal customers come here for eating food,” he added. 

Even many people in eastern Arunachal Pradesh claimed that many people were not following physical distancing norms or wearing masks in Lower Dibang valley, upper Dibang valley, Namsai, Lohit, Anjaw, Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts. 

A Dhemaji resident said, “It is our responsibility to wear masks whenever we go out. We cannot expect to live a normal life during a pandemic.” 
Asked about the measures being taken to create awareness among the people for preventing the spread of Covid-19, top districts’ officials replied, “We have put up hoardings and banners across the city and awareness through many mediums and platforms are being created to make people understand the importance of masks, sanitizers and social distancing in both rural and urban parts of the state. ” 

The officials also urged people to “follow all the preventive norms for their own welfare”. 

Meanwhile, educational institutions are closed since the outbreak of the infectious disease and the said that they would keep them closed till getting consent of the administration and the parents. 

Sanjay K Gupta, Managing Director of Learners’ Educational Institutions, said,  “Classes, yoga sessions and karate — everything is being conducted online. Temporarily it has been suspended due to flood in the state. ” Gupta suggested not to open the schools and colleges in hurry as it can affect the children. 

” However, attending classes physically is different as it has a greater impact on children. Hence, if the government allows us to reopen the school, we will hold classes for the students of classes IX to XII.” Another school director said. 

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