‘No jab, no entry’: What Assam’s new rules mean for those who haven’t taken the COVID-vaccine
According to a government order, public places in the state such as offices, markets, malls and other venues, except hospitals, will be out of bounds for people who have not taken both doses of the coronavirus vaccine
“No person can be forced to be vaccinated against their wishes. It is most respectfully submitted that the Government of India has not issued any SoPs which make carrying of vaccination certificate mandatory for any,” the Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday.
However, it seems that Assam is turning the page over; in a new order, the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government has said that those who are unvaccinated against coronavirus will not be allowed into public places from 16 January.
What are these new rules and why have they come into place?
No jab, no entry
As per the government order, citizens will have to carry proof of vaccination while visiting public places and owners of public or private establishments will be responsible for ensuring that only fully vaccinated people are allowed inside, failing which penal action would be taken.
According to officials, public places in the state such as restaurants, markets, malls and other venues — except hospitals — will be out of bounds for people who have not taken both doses of the COVID vaccine.
The order, which came into effect from 16 January, further stated that only double vaccinated government employees will be able to attend offices.
All government servants, including those on contractual and fixed pay, will have to be fully vaccinated to attend office. Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, according to an Indian Express report, was quoted as saying, “Employees who are not fully vaccinated… will have to avail leave, if available or extraordinary leave for which they will not be paid salary.”
Additionally, employees engaged in essential services would be allowed to attend duty without any restrictions, including those in public or private organisations rendering essential services, law enforcement services and those engaged in poll duty.
What the CM said
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that he wasn’t forcing anyone to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but people who are not willing to get vaccinated must stay at home.
"Vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory but the unvaccinated can't attend meetings, enter offices and restaurants. People not willing to get vaccinated can stay back at home," he said on Monday.
Those not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to enter public places like district courts, hotels, markets etc. from tomorrow. There is no situation of a lockdown in Assam yet, but wearing a mask is a must: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma pic.twitter.com/cO0NySz8R8
— ANI (@ANI) January 15, 2022
“In Assam, if necessary, then the COVID-19 vaccination certificate will have to be shown. We cannot allow anti-public work to happen,” added the Assam chief minister.
Assam battles a high number of infections
On Monday, the state saw 6,982 fresh COVID positive cases with a daily positivity of 10.75 per cent.
The active coronavirus cases in the state rose to 23,948 on Monday night. The rise in cases comes after the state-wide celebrations for the harvest festival of Bihu.
Over the last two weeks, Assam has seen over 25,000 fresh cases.
When it comes to vaccinations, the state has administered four crore vaccine doses till Monday, including 2.29 crore first doses and 1.70 crore second doses. An additional 56,374 precautionary doses have also been administered.
Data reveals that over 95 per cent of people have taken the first dose of the vaccine in Assam and more than 75 per cent have taken the second dose.
With inputs from agencies
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