Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Extended business, transport, movement restrictions in place across northeast India through at least July 31, with regional variations.

  • Alert Begins: 15 Jul 2020 05:29 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura states (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Movement controls, business and transport disruptions; increased security; possible clashes

Summary
As of July 15, most northeastern India states are maintaining or extending coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions; limited public buses and private transport are operational in areas outside of containment zones with COVID-19 clusters. Special intercity trains for stranded passengers and limited domestic flights are also permitted. Travelers from other states or countries will undergo a 14-day quarantine; symptomatic passengers will stay in a medical facility while asymptomatic patients may be quarantined at home or in a government facility, according to local rules. Both essential and nonessential business operations have resumed, including some religious sites, markets, dine-in restaurants, and hotels. Entertainment venues and most public sites remain closed. Urban centers such as Guwahati and Imphal have reported no significant decrease in cases, delaying normalization. Current or planned measures include:

 

  • Arunachal Pradesh: A daily 2100-0500 curfew is in place through July 31. Officials are implementing strict restrictions in the capital region of Itanagar through 0500 July 20. Entry and exit to the area will be limited to select transit points and for essential purposes only; officials have banned all public transport and nonessential private transport. Businesses - mainly providing essential services - will function with minimal workforce; authorities are advising residents to stay home and use delivery services to the extent possible. Other areas may face similar restrictions if local cases rise in the coming days. Noncontainment zones across the state are reopening businesses and some public sites such as places of worship; public transport remains limited. Local health authorities may direct asymptomatic passengers entering the state to serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government facility or home.

 

  • Assam: Authorities are enforcing a statewide nightly 1900-0700 curfew, as well as a weekend curfew through July 31. Officials have extended a ban on nonessential activity in Kamrup Metropolitan District, which contains Guwahati, through at least 1900 July 19. Similar measures are in place across districts of Dima Hasao, Golaghat, Jorhat, and West Karbi Anglong as of July 15. Only essential and emergency movement of people and vehicles are allowed during curfews; all nonessential businesses must close. Public transport is suspended; religious sites and hospitality businesses, including dine-in eateries, remain closed except for quarantine hotels. Shops selling essential goods will only operate 0900-1600 Monday-Friday. Asymptomatic passengers entering the state may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence; some district governments are banning travel to Kamrup Metropolitan District, and requiring those returning from Kamrup Metropolitan District to self-quarantine for 14 days.

 

  • Manipur: A statewide daily 1800-0500 curfew is in place at least through July. Officials are allowing shops in major marketplaces in Imphal to open until 1700 on alternate days except Sundays; most nonessential businesses remain closed until further notice. Limited public buses are operational. Utilities and essential services such as banking remain available. Authorities are advising residents to stay home and use delivery services and telecommuting to the extent possible. Strict measures, including extended movement controls, may be reinstated in areas with increased cases. Asymptomatic passengers may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence.

 

  • Meghalaya: A statewide nightly 2100-0500 curfew continues through at least July 31. The state is implementing strict restrictions on all nonessential activity in East Garo Hills District through 0500 July 20. Authorities have banned entry and exit into the area, as well as all public transport and nonessential private transport. Only essential businesses will function; officials are advising residents to stay home and use delivery services to the extent possible. Other areas may face similar restrictions if local cases rise in the coming days. Noncontainment zones across the state are reopening businesses, transport, and limited public sites. Authorities plan to seal all land border points - namely Bajengdoba, Byrnihat, Hallidayganj, Mirjumla, Ratacherra, and Tikrikilla - for nonessential passenger travel 0001 July 24-2359 July 31. Asymptomatic passengers may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence.

 

  • Mizoram: A statewide daily 1930-0400 curfew is in place at least through July. Officials are allowing the opening of retail outlets and the use of private vehicles on an odd-even basis in Aizawl; all nonessential activity is disallowed on Sundays. Elsewhere, businesses and transport are operational with social distancing measures. Utilities and essential services such as banking remain available. Authorities are advising residents to stay home and use delivery services and telecommuting to the extent possible. Strict measures, including extended movement controls, may be reinstated in areas with increased cases. Only those with prior online permission can enter the state via select transit points of Lipuleh Airport, and land crossings such as Bairabi, Kanhmun, and Vairengte. Asymptomatic passengers may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence.

 

  • Nagaland: A statewide daily 1700-0600 curfew is in place at least through July 31. Officials are allowing the opening of shops and businesses 0900-1400, and limited intra-district passenger transport services. Interstate and inter-district travel is restricted to cargo vehicles and those with emergency or essential needs. Authorities are advising residents to stay home and use delivery services and telecommuting to the extent possible. Strict measures, including extended movement controls, may be reinstated in areas with increased cases. Asymptomatic passengers may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence.

 

  • Sikkim: A statewide nightly 2100-0500 curfew continues through at least July 31. Authorities are banning all nonessential travel within and into the state as of July 15. The state is also suspending all nonessential activity in the Rongli and Pakyong areas of East Sikkim District until further notice. Only essential businesses will function; officials are advising residents to stay home and use delivery services to the extent possible. Other areas may face movement restrictions if local cases rise in the coming days. All entrants to the state must enter via Rangpo checkpost only and undergo rapid testing; asymptomatic and well passengers may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence.

 

  • Tripura: Authorities are enforcing a statewide nightly 2100-0500 curfew, as well as a Sunday curfew through July 31. Officials will ban nonessential activity in areas along the Indo-Bangladeshi border July 17-24. Rural areas within 1 km (0.6 miles), and urban areas within 500 m (0.3 miles) of the border will be affected by these measures. Only essential and emergency movement of people and vehicles are allowed during curfews; all nonessential businesses must close. Limited public transport and businesses are operational elsewhere; most public sites remain closed. Asymptomatic passengers entering the state may serve the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence.

 


Local administration and police will continue to enforce and facilitate control measures. Emergency and utility services remain operational nationwide. While banks and businesses selling essential goods, such as fuel, food, and medicines, remain open in containment zones, officials will almost certainly regulate price, supply, and opening hours. Panic-buying and associated localized shortages of essential goods may occur in some areas. Sporadic clashes are possible if groups attempt to enforce business closures or defy official orders. Police may forcibly disperse unruly crowds. Violators may face legal action. Authorities could modify restrictions at short notice, mainly in urban centers.

Nationwide restrictions, including the mandatory use of masks in public, the closure of public spaces, such as educational and entertainment venues, a ban on large gatherings, and suspension of non-repatriation international travel, continue. Nonetheless, businesses and limited public transport can operate outside containment zones with hygiene and social distancing guidelines. A shortened 2200-0500 nightly curfew will continue nationwide, with possible timing extensions by local authorities.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Indian government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions; minimize outdoor activity to the extent possible. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm business appointments, deliveries, work, and travel arrangements. Do not check out of accommodation without confirming onward travel. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Ensure access to essential items, plan for queues, and delays at available shopping centers. Carry proper identification documents, heed all security advisories.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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