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UP govt invokes Epidemic Diseases Act Sec 3 to tackle the spread of coronavirus, action against people refusing quarantine, hiding symptoms

According to the provisions of the act, any suspect who hides the symptoms of COVID-19 or refuses quarantine and medical assistance and raises obstacles to the government response to tackle the outbreak will face jail and fine under section 188 IPC.

The Uttar Pradesh government has put the state on high alert in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. Preventive restrictions have been put in place across the country to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus, reports Zee News. In one such decision, the UP government has decided to invoke Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act to tackle the virus outbreak. According to the provisions of the act, any suspect who hides the symptoms of COVID-19 or refuses quarantine and medical assistance and raises obstacles to the government response to tackle the outbreak will face jail and fine under section 188 IPC.

It is pertinent to note here that the central government had already involved Epidemic Diseases Act Section 2 in its fight to control the spread of Coronavirus. Section 2 of the Act makes Health Ministry advisories enforceable. Since Health is a state subject, the state was supposed to invoke Section 3 of the act.

The Lucknow administration has ordered legal action against those suspects who do not cooperate in the prevention of coronavirus. The District Magistrate said that if any suspected patient of coronavirus or a person who comes in contact with such affected do not co-operate with the authorities, then it is considered to be obstructing the government in its fight to contain the epidemic. Under the new regulation, the accused can be imprisoned for up to six months and fined up to one thousand rupees or both.

Additionally, the Uttar Pradesh government has also declared the closure of all schools and colleges where the examination process is not going on till 22 March. Isolation wards have been set up in all the 75 districts and medical staff of doctors, paramedical, the nursing staff is being provided with the necessary training.

This comes after the Centre’s decision to direct the state governments to invoke the Epidemics Diseases Act, 1897, which gives officials at state levels powers to take extraordinary steps to combat an outbreak.  

The regulation was the latest step taken to ramp up efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus in the capital after they were increasing number of cases of people deliberately hiding the symptoms or escaping from the quarantine facilities, leading to a scare that the epidemic could further spread to others.

The number of coronavirus positive cases in the country has risen to 84 which includes the two deaths in Delhi and Karnataka. Seven persons have been tested positive, including five from Uttar Pradesh and one each from Rajasthan and Delhi.

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