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UP Cabinet approves ordinance to protect health workers

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The draft law also provides for setting up a state-level authority to advise the government on controlling the epidemic

The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance to send those attacking health workers and others fighting coronavirus to jail for up to seven years and impose a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh. 

The draft law also provides for setting up a state-level authority to advise the government on controlling the epidemic, as well as similar district-level authorities. 

It also includes punishment for breaking quarantine rules, escaping from hospital or violating lockdown orders. 

The Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Control Ordinance, 2020 allows strict action for attacks and misbehaviour against health workers, policemen and sanitation workers, Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said. 

The step has been taken to protect corona warriors working tirelessly to control the pandemic, the official said. 

The government said the ordinance has a provision for punishment ranging from six months to seven years and a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for assault or misbehaviour with doctors, paramedics, police personnel, sanitation workers and others deployed by the government. 

Those found guilty of spitting and throwing filth on them can be jailed for two to five years, besides a fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh, a press statement said. 

Violation of quarantine rules and escaping from a hospital will attract a jail term of one to three years besides a fine ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh. 

The ordinance provides for one to three years of imprisonment for obscene and indecent conduct apart from a fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. 

There is also a provision for strict punishment for those who spread the disease and violate the lockdown. 

Coronavirus patients who hide themselves can face imprisonment ranging from one to three years and a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. 

Patients who intentionally travel on public transport will face imprisonment from one to three years and a fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. 

Under the provisions of the ordinance, the government will set up a state epidemic control authority headed by the chief minister. 

It will have seven other members, including the chief secretary. 

Apart from this, three-member district epidemic control authorities will also be formed, headed by the district magistrates. 

The state authority will advise the government in matters related to epidemic prevention control while the district authorities will coordinate the activities of departments in the district.

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