Coronavirus: Centre calls for invoking Epidemic Act provisions
New Delhi: Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the cabinet secretary on Wednesday said all states and Union Territories should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 by means of which all advisories issued by the Union health ministry and state governments from time to time are enforceable.
The decision was taken at a meeting organised here by the cabinet secretary. It was attended by secretaries of departments concerned, representatives from Army, ITBP among others.
"It was decided that all states/UTs should be advised by MoHFW to invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 so that all advisories being issued from time to time by the Ministry of Health Welfare/State/UTs are enforceable," the ministry said in a statement. Besides, the high-level Group of Ministers (GOM) constituted on the directions of the prime minister to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken regarding management of COVID-19 also held its meeting here on Wednesday. The meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Minister of State for Home Nityananda Rai were also present in the meeting.
A presentation of the status of COVID-19 was made to the GOM.
The action taken for prevention and management of COVID-19 in India were presented which included information about the various travel advisories issued in view of the evolving global situation regarding the disease, the ministry said in a statement.
Health secretary Preeti Sudan apprised the GoM that the states/UTs are advised to do rigorous IEC (Information, Education and Communication) and make people aware about the precautions, symptoms and helpline numbers.
The identification of additional quarantine facilities, development of isolation wards, training of health workers and doctors are also being undertaken, she said. Meanwhile, government has suspended till April 15 all existing visa, except diplomatic, official, UN/International organisation, employment and project visas.