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Lok Sabha passes the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill by voice vote

Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab questioned the Centre’s decision to bring an amendment to the Epidemics Diseases Act, and said: “Why not bring a new Bill in 2020?”

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Lok Sabha

New Delhi, Sep 22 : A bill which proposed protection to frontline workers, including healthcare professionals, was passed on late Monday night proceedings of the Lok Sabha with a voice vote and support from all political parties. The Bill was passed a few minutes before 12 O’clock.

Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Saturday, seeks to bring a law that punishes those who attack health workers or doctors who are fighting the coronavirus outbreak or during any situation similar to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bill seeks amendment to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. It will replace the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by the President on April 22 this year in order to provide protection to health care service personnel, their living premises as well as their workplaces against any violence during the course of a pandemic.

The draft legislation provides for up to five years in jail for those who attack doctors and health care personnel. The legislation intends to make sure that there is an attitude of zero tolerance towards violence against people working in the healthcare sector.

The service personnel who will be protected under the new legislation include “public and clinical healthcare service providers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical workers and community health workers; any other persons empowered under the act to take measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease or spread thereof; and any persons declared as such by the state government, by notification in the official gazette.”

Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab questioned the Centre’s decision to bring an amendment to the Epidemics Diseases Act, and said: “Why not bring a new Bill in 2020?”

“There is a need to give protection not just to health workers but also to the police,” Mahtab added.

Shiv Sena’s Shrikant Eknath Shinde and JD-U MP Kaushalendra Kumar participated in the debate on the Centre’s Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020 and supported the proposed legislation.

Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel criticised those who attacked the healthcare workers at a time when they were protecting the lives of people during the Covid-19 crisis at a cost of risking their lives.

RLP leader and MP from Nagaur in Rajasthan, Hanuman Beniwal, and Congress leader of the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said this bill should be sent to the Standing Committee and bring comprehensive legislation after proper consideration.

In his concluding remark, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan assured the House that the Central government is not just waiting for “act of God” in fight against Covid-19 but also working round-the-clock in the direction to get solution, and confident that a vaccine will be available to the countrymen in the beginning of the next year anytime.

The Minister’s response came in a reply to an MP who alleged the government of waiting for act of God in fight against the disease which on Monday inched closer to 55 lakh-mark in India with a total of 54,87,580 cases in 235 days since the first case was reported on January 30.

“We are not believing in the act of God. I had told in my speech (in the House) yesterday about the government’s step for (Covid-19) vaccine. We are very confident that the vaccine will be available to the people of our country at the beginning of the new year,” the Minister said.

In his over-half-an hour address, Harsh Vardhan lauded the effort of various corona warriors, saying: “We are fighting this war with the help of lakhs of corona warriors.”

He also praised each mother who sent her son in war against the coronavirus pandemic. “There is not a single incident in which any mother stopped her son in participating in the war against the disease.”

If any damage is done to clinical establishments, quarantine and isolation facilities of patients, mobile medical units or any other property associated with healthcare personnel during a pandemic, penal provisions can be provoked.

Penalties ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2,00,000 can be slapped on any individual who is involved in commission or abetment of such acts of violence. It can also be punishable in the form of an imprisonment for a term of three months to five years.

Health

Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi tests positive for Covid-19, admitted to AIIMS Patna

“Tested positive for CORONA.All parameters perfectly normal.Started with mild temp.No temp.for last 2 days.Admitted to AIIMS Patna for better monitoring.CT scan of lungs normal. Will be back soon for campaigning,” Modi said in the tweet.

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Sushil Modi

Deputy chief minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday afternoon. The BJP leader announced this on Twitter and said he has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Patna. Modi said that his parameters are perfectly normal adding that he will be back soon for campaigning.

“Tested positive for CORONA.All parameters perfectly normal.Started with mild temp.No temp.for last 2 days.Admitted to AIIMS Patna for better monitoring.CT scan of lungs normal.Will be back soon for campaigning,” Modi said in the tweet.

Ahead of the assembly elections in Bihar, Modi held a joint campaign with chief minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar at Buxar and Bhojpur districts on Sunday. The BJP and the JD(U) are jointly contesting the elections which will be held in three phases – October 28, November 3 and November 7. Votes will be counted on November 10.

Meanwhile, Bihar has registered over 208,000 Covid-19 cases till now which includes 196,208 recoveries, 11,010 active cases and 1,019 deaths. Over 9.5 million samples have been tested so far, the state health department bulletin showed.

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Cities

Another plea for release of nurse’s salaries reaches Delhi High Court

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Doctors Protest for Salary
Doctors Protest for Salary (File)

New Delhi, Oct 22 : The Delhi High Court will, on November 4, hear a plea seeking direction to release the salaries and allowances of the nursing staff at the Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis, under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, pending since June this year.

The matter was listed before a division bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan on Wednesday but got adjourned as the bench didn’t assemble.

The petition, filed by the Delhi Nurses Union, also sought directions to release the nursing personnel staff’s arrears since January 2016 pertaining to the Central Pay Commission bonus, Dearness Allowance, Leave Travel Concession, etc.

The plea further states that nursing personnel have been presently collectively working vigorously in the detection of coronavirus as well by conducting home visits, virtual community meetings, contact tracing, organising Covid-19 tests, comorbidity evaluation, ensuring regular medication, defaulter patients visits, record maintenance, etc.

“The nursing personnel, in accordance with the service conditions, are lawfully entitled to regularly receive the monthly salary along with all the associated allowances and benefits,” the plea said.

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Health

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain tests positive for coronavirus

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shahnawaz Hussain said he has tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

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shahnawaz hussain

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shahnawaz Hussain said he has tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. He said he got himself tested after exhibiting symptoms and appealed to those who came in contact with him over the past few days to check if they too were infected.

“I had come in contact with few people who tested positive for Covid 19. I got myself tested today & my report has come positive. Request all who came in contact with me in last few days, kindly get yourself tested according to Govt guidelines” Hussain tweeted.

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