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Flouting norms will land you in prison for 2 years, says Centre

Flouting norms will land you in prison for 2 years, says Centre

New Delhi: As the confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise to 606 – 90 new positive cases in a day – the government has decided to enforce lockdown with 100 per cent efficacy and those found disobeying the norms would face at least 2 years of imprisonment.

The decision in this regard has been taken by the Group of Ministers (GoM) during a meeting called on Wednesday to review the implementation of the complete lockdown in the country for the next days.

While highlighting the decisions taken at the GoM, join secretary Lav Aggrawal said, "The GoM has directed states to enforce the lockdown by invoking Sections 51 to 60 of the National Disaster Management Act as this is the only way to make people follow the social distancing, which is must to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission."

As per the guidelines, sections will also be invoked to punish those making false claims, indulging in misappropriation of money or materials and for issuing false warnings, the person would face one-year imprisonment and fine.

The GoM has also directed states to make social distancing as a policy measure to contain the spread of coronavirus transmission.

The health ministry official further said that district administrations have been told to promote the functioning of e-commerce services so that essential item could get delivered at home and people wouldn't venture out of their homes.

On testing facilities, Aggrawal said, "As of now, there are 118 labs are functional in government system while, 29 private chains have also been approved which has increased the sample collection capacity to 16,000. Also, there is no dearth of testing kits in the country."

Meanwhile, the death toll due to the virus increased to 10 with another death being reported from Maharashtra, the Health Ministry said.

In its updated figures at 6.45 pm on Wednesday, the ministry stated that Maharashtra has reported three deaths and one death each was reported from Bihar, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. The ministry said that Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases so far at 128, including three foreign nationals, followed by Kerala which has recorded 109 cases, including eight foreign nationals. Karnataka has reported 41 cases of coronavirus patients, while cases in Gujarat rose to 38, including one foreigner.

In a related development, in the new guidelines, Home Ministry said that Reserve Bank of India and RBI-regulated financial markets, pay and accounts officers and field officers of the CAG, petroleum products and supply chain and forest staff are exempted from the purview of the

lockdown.

Those people handling cargo operations in airports and railway stations, coal mining activities, officers and staff of resident commissioners based in Delhi and customs clearance at ports, airports and land borders are also exempted.

Forest offices staff and workers required to operate and maintain zoo, nurseries, wildlife, fire fighting in forests, watering plantations, patrolling and their necessary transport movement, social welfare department staff for operations of homes for children, disabled, senior citizens, destitute women, widows, observation homes and pensions service are also exempted, the MHA guidelines said.

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