Assam has no corona+ cases, but has ordered a total shutdown until March 31

The Asian Age.  | manoj anand

India, All India

Food prices shoot up although groceries have been exempted from lockdown

Stray cyclists seen on the Fancy Bazaar road in Guwahati during the 'Vyapar Bandh' called by the Assam Chamber of Commerce on March 23, 2020. The Assam government has extended the shutdown until March 31. (PTI)

Guwahati: The Assam government announced a complete lockdown of the state from 6 pm this evening till March 31 as a measure to counter the threat of coronavirus.

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters, “Extraordinary times need extraordinary measures.”

The minister clarified that certain exceptions have been made to ensure essential items are available for purchase and basic services continue to operate.

Groceries, fruit shops, chemists and petrol pumps will remain open and persons associated with essential services like electricity, water supply, fire brigade and medical services will be allowed to go to work.

There will, however, be no public transport. The transport department has already issued orders prohibiting all inter-state passenger vehicles (i.e. contract carriages, stage carriages, taxi cabs, maxi cabs) entering or going out of Assam until March 31, 2020.

Sarma said strict action will be taken against those who violate the lockdown orders.

The All Guwahati Newspaper Hawkers Association has announced that they would not distribute newspapers from Tuesday.

Though the state government has not put any restrictions on groceries and establishments dealing in essential food items, prices of all food items have shot up.

Significantly no northeastern state has as yet found a positive case of coronavirus.

Some 23 persons with recent history of foreign travel have been kept under observation in confinement but most of them have tested negative in preliminary tests.