Itanagar, Aug 2 (PTI) With the month-long lockdown in the capital complex of Arunachal Pradesh coming to an end at 5 am on August 3, the state has decided to ease restrictions in its non-containment zones, allowing shops, and other business establishments to operate for nine hours, six days a week.

Addressing a virtual press meet, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar said the cabinet, during a meeting headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, approved a new set of guidelines, which will be in force from Monday till the end of August.

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The government has decided to relax curbs in the non- containment areas of the Capital Complex -- comprising Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa areas as part of the fresh set of guidelines, he said.

All government offices outside the containment zones will be allowed to function normally. However, visitors won't be entertained at these offices, he said.

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"The state has also given permission for inter- district movement of people, provided they don't live in containment zones. Shops and business establishments can operate outside containment zones from 8 am to 5 pm on all days, except Sunday.

"The restrictions are not applicable on health facilities and pharmacies," Kumar said.

On the national highway, connecting Banderdewa with Hollongi, shops will be allowed to run their businesses on either side of the road on alternate days, he stated.

The government has also decided to allow the movement of public transport from Monday to Saturday, with fifty per cent occupancy, Kumar said.

Talking about government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, he said deputy commissioners have been asked to ensure the availability of test kits at all hospitals and primary health centres.

Administration officials in Arunachal Pradesh's 26 districts have been told to update the list of containment zones from time to time.

The cabinet has also approved certain standard operation procedures (SoPs) for those returning to the state from other parts of the country, and lactating women.

"The returnees will have to undergo RDT-Antigen test at the entry point. If they test negative for the disease, they will be placed under home quarantine for five days, provided they have an independent house with a separate toilet facility. Anyone found violating norms will be moved to an institutional quarantine centre," Kumar explained.

Those that test positive will be shifted to a COVID care centre, the chief secretary maintained.

"As for lactating women who have contracted the infection, but their babies haven't, the administration will take a decision on a case-to-case basis," he said.

Kumar also said that the government has so far disbursed Rs 20 crore to the 26 districts of the state for COVID-19 management.

"Funds won't be an issue...The Centre has also provided assistance in kind by way of providing 15,000 RDT- Antigen test kits, large numbers of PPEs, masks and medicines for Covid-19 management. Moreover, government laboratories in Guwahati, Tezpur and Dibrugarh are not charging any fee for RT-PCR tests," he added.

Arunachal has reported 1,673 COVID-19 cases thus far.

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