Guwahati, Nov 13: In view of improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the state, the Assam government on Friday withdrew relaxation given to its women employees who are pregnant or have children below three years of age from attending office physically, an order said.
The COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the state -- with 95 per cent of the eligible population having already received the first dose -- has also led the government to make attendance by all employees compulsory, it said.
The order signed by Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, in his capacity as the chairperson of State Executive Committee of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), said, "The relaxation issued for pregnant women employees and women employees with children of 3 years or below working under any government/ PSU/ financial institutions/ private organisations shall stand withdrawn."
It further said that all government servants, whether contractual or on fixed pay, will have to attend office, except those on authorised leave. The order said these decisions were taken as the "overall scenario in the state has considerably improved". Moreover, 95 per cent of the total eligible population in the state has already received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 31 per cent have taken both doses, it said.
Many districts are nearing saturation with regards to vaccination of the eligible population, the order stated. An ASDMA order dated April 20, 2021, had allowed women employees with children below five years of age and pregnant employees to work from home. It was later modified on August 17 and, besides the pregnant employees, women employees with children below three years of age were given the relaxation. It was, however, not applicable for those engaged in emergency services.
Meanwhile, state Health Minister Keshab Mahanta held a meeting with religious leaders to address the issue of vaccination hesitancy in some pockets of a few districts and ensure 100 per cent first dose vaccination of the entire eligible population in the state by the end of this month, an official statement said. He appealed to them to reach out to the masses and make the vaccination process a success in the state.
Mahanta also issued instructions to health and allied department officials present at the meeting to properly prepare and execute vaccination plans. Vaccination sites are to be set up in areas accessible for all and mobile vaccination units are to be deployed in inaccessible areas for the benefit of the residents of those areas, as per orders issued by the minister at the meeting.
Chief Secretary Barua, who was also present at the meeting, said COVID vaccination completion is the priority of the government for the safety of all its citizens and there is a need for full involvement of the religious leaders in the areas where there is vaccine hesitancy.
Altogether 31 religious leaders attended the meeting from different districts, including Karbi Anglong, Udalguri, Kokrajhar, Kamrup Metropolitan and Goalpara, the statement added.