Indian state of Assam imposes two-week lockdown

The government of the Indian state of Assam will reimpose a two-week lockdown in its largest city of Guwahati. Weekend

A sanitation worker sprays disinfectant on the luggage of a traveler in Guwahati

Photo: PTI

The government of the Indian state of Assam will reimpose a two-week lockdown in its largest city of Guwahati. Weekend lockdowns will be imposed during the same period for the rest of the state.

Under the lockdown, government offices, private businesses, public transportation and places of religious worship will be closed while nightly curfews will also be imposed across the state.

Assam, which has a population of nearly 31 million people, is one of the worst-affected states in India’s northeast region and has recorded over 6,500 COVID-19 cases and 9 deaths thus far. The state government prepared for the virus by closing schools, creating an outdoor 2,000-bed facility, and naming treatment centres in each district prior to the first case being detected on March 31. The introduction of a contact tracing app has also helped keep Assam’s low mortality rate around 0.15%.

Even with these measures, Guwahati has recorded nearly 700 new infections after reopening earlier this month. The lockdown, which will start today at midnight, will be the strictest since the beginning of the pandemic in an attempt to break the chain of transmission. With the implementation of the lockdown in conjunction with previous measures, Assam will likely be able to respond more effectively to the virus compared to states outside of northeast India, which have struggled to accommodate a surge of infections in overburdened hospitals.

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