Covid-19: States advised to invoke 1897 Act on epidemics
New Delhi: To combat the coronavirus outbreak, the Central government on Wednesday decided that all states should be advised to invoke the necessary provisions of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 to enforce all advisories.
According to an official statement, at a review meeting held by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, it was decided that all states/UTs should be advised by the Union Health Ministry to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Disease Act so that all advisories being issued from time to time by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare/State/UTs are enforceable.
Section 2 of the 1897 Act gives the power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic disease.
“.. thinks that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are insufficient for the purpose, may take, or require or empower any person to take, such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as 9 [it] shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof, and may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any) shall be defrayed,” it reads.
It also gives the power for inspection of “persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and the segregation, in hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease”.
The Act says, “The Central Government may take measures and prescribe regulations for the inspection of any ship or vessel leaving or arriving at any port in 2 [the territories to which this Act extends] and for such detention thereof, or of any person intending to sail therein, or arriving thereby, as may be necessary.]”.
The Cabinet Secretary also took a meeting with Secretaries of the Ministries concerned, and representatives from Army, and ITBP, here. Also, 83 passengers who arrived from Italy on Wednesday are quarantined at the Army Facility at Manesar.
A high level Group of Ministers (GoM), set up to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken regarding management of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), also held its meeting.
The meeting was attended by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep S. Puri, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, among others.
GoM undertook elaborate discussions on the various other precautionary measures which may be considered in the interest of the citizens of India.
It expressed satisfaction with the actions taken, preparedness and efforts put together by various ministries/departments and states/UTs to combat Covid-19.
The identification of additional quarantine facilities, development of isolation wards, training of health workers & doctors are also being undertaken. Regular handholding, monitoring, advisories, guidelines etc. is being done with the States/UTs.
As per the Travel Advisory, passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany should undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers should facilitate work from home for such employees during this period.