GOVERNMENT MEASURES TO COMBAT COVID-19 DISEASE

In furtherance to the Guidelines issued by the Government of India in view of outbreak of Novel #Coronavirus Disease, which have been listed out at http://www.theindianlawyer.in/blog/2020/02/22/government-issues-guidelines-in-view-of-novel-coronavirus-outbreak-2020/, the Government of India has recently issued additional notifications and advisories with a view to prevent, manage and combat the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease, that first emerged in China in 2019 (#COVID-19).

The #preventive and pre-emptive measures taken by the Indian Government in public interest are with respect to travel restrictions, suspension of visas, self-quarantine measures, community surveillance, rapid response teams, universal screening of passengers at all ports and vessels at seaports, sufficient laboratory facilities and isolation wards, running of special flights including Indian Air Force to evacuate Indian citizens from COVID-19 affected countries such as Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru.

Upon conducting the screening of such persons, so far 81 confirmed cases have been identified, out of which one, #76-year-old man from Karnataka, has passed away due to Asthma and Hypertension and positive COVID-19. Further, a #68-year-old woman from West Delhi, who came in contact with a positive case, i.e. her son having a recent travel history to Switzerland and Italy and back to India, passed away after being tested positive for COVID-19 and having developed pneumonia, respiratory fluctuations etc.

Thus, the Government has issued certain notifications and #advisories in #public #interest to combat, prevent and contain the spread of #COVID-19 Disease:

1- Travel advisory

i) To carry a certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from the designated laboratories authorized by the health authorities, by passengers traveling from #Italy or #Republic of Korea and desirous of entering India, from 10-03-2020.

ii) Indian citizens are advised not to travel to #China, #Republic of Korea/South Korea, #Islamic Republic of Iran, #Italy, #Singapore and #Japan.

iii) Further, visas granted to nationals of China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and to all foreign nationals who have traveled to those countries, who have not yet entered India, have been suspended.

iv) Although Diplomats, officials of United Nations and other international bodies, overseas citizens of India (#OCI) cardholders and aircrew from above countries are exempted from such suspensions and restrictions. But their medical screening is compulsory.

v) Persons coming from China, Republic of Korea, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy and Japan to India, need to obtain special permission from Indian Embassy in those countries, observe proper personal hygiene, be quarantined in India, and report Airport Health Office or Immigration Office in case of illness or otherwise regarding their travel history.

vi) Mandatory medical screening and self-reporting at various ports of entry in India by all passengers (foreign and/or Indian nationals) arriving India from the aforesaid countries and #Hong Kong, #Macau, #Vietnam, #Malaysia, #Indonesia, #Nepal, #Thailand, and #Taiwan.

2- Mass gatherings

The Central and State Governments have advised people to refrain from attending and/or organizing mass gatherings and public events, till the COVID-19 Disease is contained.

3- Fake circulations

The Government has advised people to refrain from circulating fake messages and/or follow such fake circulations about COVID-19 Disease including the Clarification regarding declaration of holidays for the States dated 13-03-2020 that has been circulated by unknown miscreants across social media and WhatsApp, in the name of #Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

4- Helpline

The Government has advised people to contact their nearest health care centres and officers, or contact the concerned persons at the helpline number/email for COVID-19, i.e. +91-11-23978046, ncov2019@gmail.com, in case any advice, clarifications and help is required.

Thus, the Government of India has not only been taking the aforesaid measures at the domestic level to combat, prevent and contain the COVID-19 Disease, but has also sought for international cooperation with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (#SAARC) nations, via video conference, in order to formulate strategies to combat COVID-19 Disease and contribute to a healthier planet.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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