GUWAHATI: After the Centre invoked a 123-year-old Epidemic Diseases Act, Govt of Assam has come up with regulations for prevention & containment of Coronavirus called 'The Assam COVID-19 Regulations, 2020' to deal with the situation better.
- The current framework says that an 'Empowered Officer' will take measures necessary to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 or the spread thereof within their respective jurisdictions.
- All hospitals (Government & Private) should have separate corners for screening of suspected cases of COVID-19. No hospital, Government or private, will refuse any screening or treatment facilities to any suspected/confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- All hospitals (Government & Private) during screening of such cases shall record the history of travel of the person to any country or area where COVID-19 has been reported. In addition, the history of contacts with the suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is also required to be recorded. Information of all such cases must be given to State Integrated Disease Surveillance Unit and District Magistrate immediately. People with travel history to infected places should home quarantine themselves. Depending on the case, patients can be isolated in hospitals and accordingly treatment should be given
- No dissemination of information should be permitted without ascertaining facts or getting clearance from Health & family Welfare Department or District magistrate.
- Penalty should be imposed on those violating the rules.
For a fact, the Centre has invoked a 123-year-old Epidemic Diseases Act to deal with coronavirus. The Act has been historically used to contain the spread of various diseases — swine flu, cholera, malaria and dengue.
Constitution experts say if the government believes a colonial-era law helps in containing the outbreak, then nothing is wrong in such a decision.
The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which continues to find relevance in the outbreak of modern-day diseases in the country, is routinely enforced to restrain the outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera.
Currently, India is fighting the deadly virus, which has claimed two lives in the country and more than 70 COVID-19 cases have tested positive. According to reports, across the world more than 119,100 people have been infected.
Constitution experts say many colonial-era laws continue to exist in the statute, as governments over the years have thought they are good enough to enable prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases.