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Coronavirus | Community spread of COVID-19 forces Guwahati to go into total lockdown

Manipur extends lockdown till July 15, Meghalaya imposes restrictions in border areas

Guwahati and its outskirts under the Kamrup (Metropolitan) district went into total lockdown from Monday following the community spread of COVID-19. The 14-day lockdown ends on July 12.

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Meghalaya too imposed it in areas of Ri-Bhoi district bordering Guwahati while Manipur extended the ongoing lockdown across the State till July 15 with certain relaxations.

All government and private offices, commercial establishments, shops, industrial establishments and places of worship remained closed on Monday. Specified fuel outlets, pharmacies and hospitals were allowed to operate.

The roads wore a deserted look as the authorities banned the movement of all vehicles except ambulances and those belonging to security personnel and journalists.

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The police warned of action against lockdown violators and said drones would be used in areas that have had a tendency to disobey restrictions.

“We will be very tough against violators who will face legal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Indian Penal Code,” Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta said.

Last week, Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the decision was necessary in view of the spurt in cases, specifically after some 700 people without any travel history were infected.

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“Their infection pointed to community transmission of the disease. We will, however, assess the situation after seven days and decide whether grocery shops, vegetable markets and other services can be reopened,” he said.

Step criticised

There were reports of overzealous police personnel getting rough with people engaged in essential services. The police allegedly assaulted a pump operator of the Water Resources Department while attending to his duty of pumping out rainwater in a part of the city into a stream.

The Opposition Congress was critical of the total lockdown.

“This lockdown reflects the government’s failure in tackling the pandemic during all these days of restrictions. This extreme step will only compound the miseries of the poor who have been already very badly affected,” said former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Guwahati’s move made Meghalaya take a similar decision but in the areas bordering the principal Assam city. The southern part of Guwahati adjoins Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya.

“We took the decision due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Assam. Inter-state movement continues to be restricted,” Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said.

In Manipur, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said the existing lockdown would be extended from July 1 till July 15.

According to last official figures available, Assam recorded 7,492 cases, including 11 deaths. Of the 327 cases recorded in the past 24 hours, 195 were from Guwahati.

While Manipur had 1,185 positive cases on Sunday, Meghalaya recorded 50.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 12:52:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-guwahati-goes-into-total-lockdown/article31946727.ece

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