State govt invokes ‘Epidemic Diseases Act’

DIMAPUR, MAR 19 (NPN) | Publish Date: 3/19/2020 12:29:20 PM IST

Authorised officers can forcefully admit, isolate suspected case of Coronavirus

A week after the Central government advised States to invoke the necessary provisions of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, the Government of Nagaland, Department of Health and Family Welfare (H&FW), has issued 23-point regulation regarding COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) in exercise of the powers conferred under section 2, 3 and 4 of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 (No.3 of 1897).

The regulations published in the Nagaland gazette extraordinary on March 18, 2020, would come into force immediately and would remain valid for a period of one year from the date of publication of the notification.

The regulation declared that all health facilities would have a designated Flu/COVID-19 corners for screening of suspected cases of COVID-19. It would be mandatory for all health facilities to notify such person(s) to concerned district surveillance unit along with duly filled up self declaration forms, who, within their knowledge, are having travel history of COVID-19 affected countries and are having complaints of fever or cough or respiratory difficulty or even without any sign and symptoms of COVID-19. In addition, the history of coming in contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 would be recorded.

To avoid spread of any rumor or unauthenticated information regarding COVID-19, no person/institution/organization would use any print or electronic media for information regarding COVID-19 without prior permission of H&FW department. In case, anyone was found indulging in such activity, it would be treated as a punishable offence.

Since no private laboratories have been authorized to take or test samples for COVID-19 in the state, all such samples would be collected as per guidelines of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and would be sent to designated labs by the state nodal officer appointed by the H&FW department.

Any person with a history of travel in last 14 days to a country or area from where COVID-19 has been reported must report to nearest government hospital or call a toll helpline number 7005415243/ 7005539653/ 9856071745, so that necessary measures/action if required may be intimated by H&FW department.

All person with a history of travel to a country or area from where COVID-19 has been reported in last 14 days, but who do not have any symptoms of cough, fever, difficulty in breathing, should isolate themselves at home and cover their mouth and nose with a mask. Such persons must take precautions to avoid contact with any persons including family members for 14 days from the date of arrival from such areas.

Authorized persons as per Clause 6 have been authorized to admit a person and isolate the person if required in case he/she has a history of visit to an area where COVID-19 was endemic and the concerned person was symptomatic.

If a suspected case of COVID-19 refuses admission or isolation, the authorized officers would have powers to forcefully admit and isolate such case for a period of 14 days from the onset of symptoms or till the reports of Lab tests are received, or such period as may be necessary.

Further, if cases of COVID-19 are reported from a defined geographic area such as village, town, ward, colony or settlement, the deputy commissioner of the concerned district would have the right to implement containment measures in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

District disaster management committee (DDMC) headed by deputy commissioner (DC) has been authorized for planning strategy regarding containment measure for COVID-19 in their respective districts. The DC may co-opt more officers from different departments for DDMC.

Penalty: Any person/institution/organization found violating any clause of the regulations would be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under section 188 of Indian Penal Code 1860 (45 of 1860).

Protection to person acting under Act: No suit or legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 (No. of 897) unless proved otherwise.

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