No compromise on healthcare workers’ safety: Modi

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said there is no compromise on the safety of healthcare professionals in the country, who are fighting with Covid-19.

In a tweet, he said, ‘The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 manifests our commitment to protect each and every healthcare worker who is bravely battling COVID-19 on the frontline.’

The Prime Minister added: ‘It will ensure safety of our professionals. There can be no compromise on their safety!’

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance making acts of violence and harassment against healthcare personnel deployed in combating COVID-19 a non-bailable offence with maximum punishment of seven years and Rs 5 lakh fine, meeting a key demand of health professionals in the wake of recent attacks on them.

Asserting that the government has “zero tolerance” for violence and harassment against doctors, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare personnel, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said a person can be sentenced to anywhere between three months and five years in jail, besides a fine between Rs 50,000 and two lakh, for such crimes under the new provision.

In cases where injuries are serious, the punishment will range from six months to seven years, and carry fine between Rs 1-5 lakhs, the minister told reporters.

The ordinance will amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and the amended law will also be invoked if healthcare personnel face harassment from their landlords or neighbours over suspicion that they may carry the coronavirus infection due to the nature of their work, he said.

NT Bureau