Critical Alert

States in northeast India modifying COVID-19 measures with regional variations as of Oct. 2. Businesses, transport largely operational. 

Alert Begins 02 Oct 2020 02:03 PM UTC
Alert Expires 31 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

 

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura states 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions; increased security; possible clashes

 

Summary
As of Oct. 2, strict controls continue in areas with reported COVID-19 clusters across northeastern Indian states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura - as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. Under such measures, entry and exit remain limited to select transit points and for essential purposes only; officials continue banning all public transport and nonessential private transport. Businesses - mainly providing essential services - will function with minimal workforce; residents must stay home and use delivery services to the extent possible. Interstate travel restrictions continue in most northeastern states. A nightly curfew is in place across Mizoram through at least Oct. 31.

Outside of curfew hours, limited public buses and private transport are operational in areas outside of containment zones with COVID-19 clusters. Officials are also permitting special intercity trains for stranded passengers and limited domestic flights. Travelers from other states or countries will typically undergo a 14-day quarantine at home or in a government facility, depending on medical screening and local rules. While businesses are resuming with social distancing measures, entertainment venues and most public sites remain closed. Urban centers such as Agartala, Guwahati, and Imphal have reported higher cases, delaying normalization. Current or planned measures include:

 

  • Arunachal Pradesh: Statewide public transport services for intra- and interstate travel is operational but limited in passenger capacity; private transport is permitted. Authorities allow entry into the state 0800-2000 daily; incoming travelers must undergo rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 at the point of entry unless exiting the state within 8 hours. Asymptomatic passengers with negative test results are exempt from quarantine. Officials will impose additional testing and home or institutional quarantine for those with symptoms or positive test results.
  • Assam: Authorities have lifted nightly and weekend curfews. Incoming air travelers must undergo rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 at the point of entry. Asymptomatic passengers with negative test results are exempt from quarantine. Officials will impose additional testing and home or institutional quarantine for those with symptoms or positive test results. Entrants via other routes may undergo a reduced mandatory quarantine period of 10 days at their residence if asymptomatic.
  • Manipur: A statewide daily 1800-0600 curfew is no longer applicable effective Oct. 1. Officials are allowing businesses to operate 0700-1800 daily; shops in major marketplaces must continue functioning on a rotational basis 0800-1800 daily, and close on Sundays. Entrants to the state must undergo COVID-19 testing and quarantine until test results arrive; authorities may advise additional home or institutional quarantine for passengers according to a medical assessment.
  • Meghalaya: Most businesses and religious places are open statewide. Strict curbs are ongoing in Shillong city and the rest of East Khasi Hills District, where nonessential activity is barred 2100-0500 daily through at least Oct. 5; private businesses may function in the district 0800-2000 daily while shops in major markets must open on scheduled dates on a rotational basis. Authorities are sealing all state entry points for nonessential passenger travel Nov. 1-7. All entrants to the state must obtain prior online permission and undergo rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 upon arrival; asymptomatic passengers with negative results must self-isolate at home for ten days. Authorities may advise additional testing, as well as home or institutional quarantine for other travelers. Essential and government workers may avail a reduced quarantine period upon prior application.
  • Mizoram: Officials have extended the daily 2030-0430 curfew across 11 district headquarters, including the capital city of Aizawl, until further notice. Authorities are imposing business and transport restrictions in Aizawl city; nonessential vehicular movement and business operations remain limited on weekends. Private hire vehicles must operate on a rotational basis according to their registration number; vehicles with registration number ending with one or two may operate on Monday and so on. Only those with prior online permission can enter the state via select transit points of Lipuleh Airport, and land crossings of Bairabi, Kanhmun, and Vairengte are open on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; mentioned entry points will be open daily for cargo movement. Asymptomatic passengers may undergo quarantine for 14 days at their residence if results of on-arrival rapid antigen COVID-19 tests are negative.
  • Nagaland: Businesses and intra-state transport services are largely operational. According to local officials' advisories, shops in major marketplaces in Dimapur and Kohima will open on alternate days. All private and public vehicles in Kohima must follow an odd-even policy based on their registration numbers. Only cargo vehicles and those with prior online permission can enter the state via select transit points of Dimapur Airport (DMU), Dimapur Railway Station, as well as land crossings including New Field and Dillai of Dimapur, Khuzama of Kohima, Tsutapela and Watiyongpang of Mokokchung District, Naginimora and Tizit of Mon District, and Bandhari of Wokha District. According to medical assessment, entrants to the state must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at home or at a designated facility; officials may also impose an additional home quarantine of 14 days. Those leaving the state within 48 hours, as well as essential or government employees, may avail quarantine exemptions.
  • Sikkim: Interstate travel is permitted from Oct. 1; tourist facilities will reopen Oct. 10. All intra- and interstate travel is allowed. Businesses may function with social distancing measures; transport is operational with passenger limits. Except for those transporting cargo and food delivery, vehicles must adhere to odd-even rules based on registration numbers through Oct. 9. Interstate cargo transit is operational. All asymptomatic travelers, including workers and tourists, may enter the state through any entry point from Oct. 10, as long as they register online beforehand and carry negative results of a COVID-19 swab test conducted within 72 hours before arrival. Such entrants are no longer required to undergo the mandatory 11-day quarantine.
  • Tripura: Officials have lifted the nightly 2100-0500 curfew statewide. Business, movement, and transport restrictions may recur in regions along the Indo-Bangladeshi border if local cases rise. All intra- and interstate transport is operational with social distancing measures. Asymptomatic passengers entering the state may undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine at their residence, except if intending to stay for fewer than 72 hours; entrants via air routes must undergo testing upon landing and undergo institutional quarantine until results arrive.

 

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 facemasks in public, the closure of public spaces, such as educational and some entertainment venues, a ban on large gatherings, and suspension of most international travel, continue. Nonetheless, businesses and limited public transport can operate outside containment zones with hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

 

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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