The Assam government on Sunday announced a slew of lockdown relaxations but as an experiment for 12 days in view of the decline in the COVID-19 positivity rate.
This follows the decision on reopening schools and colleges from September 1 if the situation improves and the Centre gives the go-ahead.
An order issued by the State government, effective from 7 p.m. on Sunday, said the permitted activities would be allowed till 7 p.m. on August 14. The State might open up further from August 15 if the infection rate does not get worse.
State lockdown, however, will remain on Saturdays and Sundays until decided otherwise.
The government has allowed shopping malls and gymnasiums to operate from Monday to Friday alternately on one side of the road in Kamrup (Metropolitan) district and on both sides in case of other districts. Retail and wholesale shops were allowed to operate from mid-July.
Restaurants, hotels and other hospitality services have been allowed to function for five days a week with adherence to social distancing. The government has also allowed inter-district movement of people but only on Mondays and Tuesdays.
All government offices, banks, insurance companies, etc., have been allowed to operate with 100% workforce except pregnant women subject to buses ferrying the staff. Non-contact sports too have been allowed in open space on the condition of maintaining social distancing.
The decisions were made after due consideration of the situation and the latest directives issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, a government spokesperson said.
However, cinema halls, swimming pools, parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places of public gathering and social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, religious functions and other large congregations shall remain prohibited.
Assam so far recorded 41,726 COVID-19 cases, including 101 deaths. There are currently 10,180 active cases. Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Assams mortality rate of 0.24% is the lowest in the country and the recovery rate of 75% is the fourth best.
Dr. Sarma lauded the police personnel who recovered from COVID-19 for donating their plasma at a camp on Saturday. Officials said 67 personnel had turned up but 43 were found eligible after screening.
Plasma therapy has been found to be the most effective for COVID-19 patients. The government will honour those who donate their plasma to save lives, he said.
Director-General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said the example set by the 43 would help boost the morale of those in the organisation who were still under treatment besides providing a ray of hope to the people of the State.
Of the 1,631 police personnel who tested positive so far, 1,162 have recovered.