The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in the light of COVID-19 pandemic situation making acts of violence against the healthcare workers as cognizable and non-bailable offences.
Under it , there is a provision to provide compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property. Briefing media in New Delhi after the Cabinet meeting, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar said that health workers who are trying to save the country from this COVID-19 pandemic are unfortunately facing attacks. Javadekar said, no incident of violence or harassment, against them will be tolerated. He said the investigation into the cases of attack on healthcare workers will be completed within 30 days and judgment will be pronounced within one year.
MIB Minister Javadekar said, the accused of the attack can attract a punishment ranging from 3 months to 5 years and a fine from 50 thousand rupees to 2 lakh rupees. He said, in case of grievous injuries, the accused can be sentenced from 6 months to 7 years and they can also be penalized from one lakh to 5 lakh rupees. Javadekar said, if damage is done to the vehicles or clinics of healthcare workers, then a compensation amounting to twice the market value of the damaged property will be taken from the accused.
He also said that in the last three months, the government has taken several steps in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. He said, the government took the decision of providing 50 lakh rupees insurance cover each for all healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and ASHA workers. He also said,under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, the beneficiary will get the treatment in COVID hospital free of cost in case of coronavirus infection and in case of non- Covid diseases, the beneficiary will also be eligible to get the treatment in non empanelled hospitals free of cost through the certificate issued by the government hospital.
The minister said, 723 Covid hospitals have been set up in the country with around two lakh isolation beds, 24 thousand ICU beds and 12,190 ventilators. With regard to availability of PPEs and N-95 masks, he informed that there are 77 domestic manufacturers of PPEs in the country and order has been placed for 1.88 crore PPEs. He said, the availability of N-95 masks is 25 lakh and order has been placed for around 2.5 crore such masks.