Assam withdrew all COVID-related restrictions on Tuesday reverting to the situation that existed before the nationwide lockdown on March 25, 2020, following the outbreak of the disease, officials said.
They claimed that Assam is the first state in the country to withdraw all COVID restrictions. All restrictions were lifted from 6 am on Tuesday with night curfew and curbs on socio-religious gatherings, educational institutions and others withdrawn, the officials said.
Wearing masks, maintaining social distance, regular hand washing and use of hand sanitisers at places of the public gathering are mandatory and will remain in force until further orders, according to a notification issued by Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah.
Any person not wearing a face mask and spitting in public places shall be fined Rs 1000 and all district magistrates and superintendents of police must ensure utmost vigil at public places for enforcing COVID-appropriate behaviour and to prevent the increase of positive cases in the state, the order stated.
The officials said that the education department will issue new guidelines for offline teaching in schools and colleges. Mandatory testing for the virus at airports, railway stations, road border points and hospitals were also discontinued from Tuesday though symptomatic people have been asked to test voluntarily at any recognised COVID testing facility.
Non-vaccinated persons will, however, not be allowed entry in public places except in hospitals and all people must carry proof of their full vaccination. Owners of public/private establishments will be responsible for ensuring that only those entrants who are fully vaccinated are allowed inside and, failure to do so will lead to penal action, the officials said.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had recently said that the decision to lift all curbs before any other state in the country could be taken as the state government intensified the vaccination drive among the beneficiaries''.
The vaccination status has improved significantly in the state, with 95 per cent of the total eligible population administered the first dose, many districts nearing saturation and the fully vaccinated figure reaching 77 per cent.
Assam has so far reported 2,82,39,192 since the first case was reported from Cachar district on March 31, 2020, and the toll increased to 6,610, besides the 1347 COVID patients, since the first death on April 10, 2020, of a person from Hailakandi district. The current positivity rate in the state is 0.61 per cent, while the number of active cases is currently 2,292.
With PTI inputs.