COVID-19 declared as ‘notified disaster’

COVID-19 declared as ‘notified disaster’
NEW DELHI, MAR 14 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/14/2020 12:16:59 PM IST

Central government on Saturday declared COVID-19 as a ‘notified disaster’ in a move it called “a special one-time dispensation”, to contain the spread of the infectious virus.  Centre allso announced to provide ex-gratia relief of Rs 4 lakh to the families who died of the virus.

The Home ministry in a letter to states and union territories stated: “Keeping in view that spread of COVID-19 virus in India the declaration of it as pandemic by World Health Organisation, the Central government has decided to treat it as a notified disaster and announced to provide assistance under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).”

Centre said that cost of hospitalization for managing COVID-19 patient would be at the rates fixed by the state governments. The state government can use SDRF fund for providing temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care for people affected and sheltered in quarantine camps, other than home quarantine, or for cluster containment operations. The state executive committee will decide the number of quarantine camps, their duration and the number of persons in such camps. “Period can be extended by the committee beyond the prescribed limit subject to condition that expenditure on this account should not exceed 25 percent of SDRF allocation for the year,” the Home ministry notification stated.

The cost of consumables for sample collection would be taken from the funds which can be sued to support for checking, screening and contact tracing.

Further, funds can also be withdrawn for setting up additional testing laboratories within the government set up. The state has also to bear the cost of personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities. Further SDRF money can also be used for procuring thermal scanners and ventilation and other necessary equipment.

It issued a two-page directive to all states specifying “list of items and norms of assistance for containment of COVID-19 virus in India, eligible from SDRF”.

Coronavirus positive cases climb to 84: Centre on Saturday put the number of coronavirus positive cases in the country at 84 and issued directives to states specifying list of items and norms of assistance for containment of COVID-19 under their disaster funds.

Two persons -- a 76-year-old man from Karnataka and a 68-year-old woman in Delhi -- have died from coronavirus, which has been declared a global pandemic by WHO and has claimed over 5,000 lives across the world. Several states ordered closure of schools, colleges, public institutions and cinema halls. The External Affairs Ministry announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead India at a video conference of all SAARC nations on Sunday at 5 p.m. to chalk out a joint strategy to fight coronavirus in the region.

According to the health ministry, Kerala has reported 19 positive cases, Maharashtra 14, Uttar Pradesh 11, Delhi seven, Karnataka six,  Ladakh three, Jammu and Kashmir two, and Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab one case each. 

The total number of 84 confirmed cases also includes 17 foreigners -- 16 Italian tourists and a Canadian, it said.

Special Secretary in the health ministry, Sanjeeva Kumar, said more than 4,000 people who had come in contact with those testing positive have been identified through contact tracing and are under surveillance. He further said that there have been cases of people not willing to be quarantined despite coming in contact with people testing positive.

The health ministry said home quarantine is meant “to protect you and your loved ones”.


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