Govt of India to impose Epidemic Act 1897 to prevent coronavirus COVID 19

The government of India has decided to invoke the 123-year-old Epidemic Act to combat COVID 19.

Epidemic Act 1897 to Combat COVID 19
Epidemic Act 1897 to Combat COVID 19

Govt of India has decided to invoke Epidemic act 1897, an act to provide for the prevention of the spread of “dangerous epidemic disease”, to combat novel coronavirus COVID 19 in India.

Epidemic: It is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

This act is basically for an epidemic situation in the country where the administration can get special power to make major changes to avoid the spreading of the virus.

  • If the government thinks ordinary provisions are insufficient to contain an epidemic then it can impose the Epidemic Act.
  • Under the Act, the government can fine or imprison them as per IPC 188 for violating rules and regulations.

What is Epidemic Act 1897, Let’s understand this:

The Epidemic act, 1897 consists of 4 sections which are as follows:

Section 1:

Power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic disease (Any time if the State Government feels that the present rules and regulations are not enough to control epidemic condition in that particular region then the state government can empower the officials of the state to take necessary and preventive decisions to control the situation. Like by quarantine people (a state or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to the infectious or contagious disease are placed.)

Section 2:

In case of an epidemic situation, the state government can take measures and prescribe regulations to the authorities for the inspection of suspected people travelling by public transport and can be segregated for temporary accommodation in hospitals of that region.

Section 3:

According to this section if any person disobeys any regulation or order made by the officials then under the Act he/she shall be deemed to have committed a punishable offence under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

Section 4:

This section protects the persons acting under Act, which means it gives legal protection to the implementing officers.

Epidemic situations in Indian History since 1990:

  • Plague in Surat (1994)
  • SARS (2003)
  • Dengue and Chickengunya (2006)
  • Hepatitis outbreak in Gujrat (2009)
  • Jaundice outbreak in Orissa (2014-2015)
  • Swine Flu (2015)
  • Encephalitis outbreak in Gorakhpur (2017)
  • Nipah Virus in Kerala (2018)
  • Coronavirus (2019-2020)

Most of the disease outbreaks are due to lack of health Cleanliness, basic hygiene and Sanitation. Here are a few small steps to decrease your risk of infecting yourself and to others:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently
  • Keep your recommended vaccinations up-to-date, get vaccinated as advised by your doctor
  • Use antibiotics prescribed by your doctor, take all prescribed doses of your antibiotic, even if you begin to feel better before you have completed the medication.
  • Stay at home if you have signs and symptoms of an infection
  • Be smart about food preparation and food habits
  • Disinfect the ‘hot zones’ at your place
  • Don’t share personal items
  • Travel wisely


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