COVID-19 now a ‘notified disaster’ in India, kin of deceased to get ex-gratia

This comes a day after Union health ministry said coronavirus outbreak was not a health emergency

A volunteer distributes masks to people as a preventive measure against coronavirus, in Jammu | PTI File

The Indian government on Saturday (March 14) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a “notified disaster” for the purpose of providing assistance to infected victims and those who died due to the deadly infection.

Funds for this purpose and other measures will be drawn from the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) of each state, according a notification issued on Saturday by the ministry of home affairs.

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The government also announced ₹4 lakh ex-gratia for the families of deceased victims, including those involved in relief operations and response activities.


This comes a day after Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry, told a press conference the coronavirus was not a health emergency.

Saturday’s notification also mentioned provisions for temporary accommodation, food, clothing, and medical care for those affected and sheltered in quarantine camps.

It said the SDRF funds shall also be used for expenditures incurred on setting up of additional testing laboratories, and protective equipment for police, healthcare, municipal and fire authorities. However, the total expenditure cannot exceed 10% of the total allocation of SDRF.

So far, India has reported 84 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including two deaths, the health ministry said on Saturday. Officials said 4,000 others, who had come in contact with these infected persons, have been tracked and are under surveillance.

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