Karnataka govt steps in to control coronavirus situation
With four confirmed coronavirus cases in Bengaluru, the Karnataka government on Wednesday (March 11) called it a state epidemic and issued a temporary regulation called the 'Karnataka Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 to prevent spread of coronavirus.
With four confirmed coronavirus cases in Bengaluru, the Karnataka government on Wednesday (March 11) issued a temporary regulation called the ‘Karnataka Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The regulation focusses on restricting private laboratories from conducting tests, punishing those spreading rumours, giving powers the health officers to quarantine and treat suspected patients besides a host of other provisions. The regulations are effective immediately and shall remain in force for one year.
While rumours were afloat that Karnataka declared it as a state epidemic, the Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey allied fears and said they only issued a notification to regulate and not called it a state epidemic.
As per the Act, all hospitals (Government and Private) should have flu corners for the screening of suspected cases of COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019).
Much on the lines of Kerala, the government increased the quarantine period to 28 days if someone is found to be exposed to the virus-infected person.
Besides, it ordered any person with a travel history in the last 14 days, to report to the nearest district (government) hospital or call toll-free helpline number 104 so that the government can initiate required health measures.
The government said all samples collected will only be tested in government authorised centres and no private laboratory has been authorized to take or test samples for COVID-19.
The state also focussed on containing the spread of fake news and rumours.
“No person/institution /organization shall use any print or electronic media for misinformation regarding COVID-19 without prior permission of the Department of Health and Family Welfare,” the government said in the notification. “In case anyone is found indulging in such activity it will be treated as a punishable offence under these regulations.”
In the backdrop that a suspected coronavirus patient escaped from Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru, (who was later traced back to the hospital again), the government said if a suspected case of COVID-19 refuses admission or isolation, the designated officers shall have powers to forcefully admit and isolate the person for a period of 14 days.
Also, in the wake of patients and family members of the affected resorting to violence against doctors, the government made provisions to protect the doctors by saying “no suit or legal proceedings shall lie against any person for doing anything in good faith.”