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"Lockdown in Assam from 6:00 PM tomorrow to midnight March 31," Himanta Biswa Sarma 

At a press conference, the Health and Finance Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that starting 6:00 PM March 24, 2020, Assam will undergo a lockdown in order to contain the COVID 19 virus. The lockdown will continue till March 31, 2020, announced Sarma. He made it clear that grocery stores, pharmacies and petrol pumps will function as usual.

“There is no reason for us to go panic buying today and tomorrow and stock up as the stores will remain open. Also essential services will continue to function,” said Sarma.

He said interstate transportation will remain defunct until not earlier than March 31, 2020. However, he said that the airway will function in a restricted manner as it is important to transport medical equipment. Banks and all other financial institutions where transactions are carried will also function, informed Sarma. Considering that the financial year is coming to a closure, the accounts department of government offices where the book is not closed yet will also function.

“Lockdown down does not mean only markets and transportation should remain shut but it means that unless it is extremely necessary one must not step out to his/her home,” said Sarma. Violating the Coronavirus lockdown will amount to a jail term of 6 months and the second violation will attract a jail term of 2 years added Sarma.

The minister asserted that the lockdown includes religious organisation and any sort of gathering in Mosques, Temples or Churches must be prohibited. “The rituals will be followed by pujaris in the temples, Muezzin in mosques and rest can practice their religious beliefs staying at home,” said Sarma.

Many states in India are locking down as a preventive measure to contain the deadly coronavirus which has already infected 415 and claimed the lives of 7 in India as of now. The worldwide death toll stands at 14,700.

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