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Coronavirus | Migrant workers to be stopped, quarantined at borders, says Centre

Corporation officials started door-to-door visits as a measure to tackle novel coronavirus pandemic. A scene in Chennai on March 29, 2020.

Corporation officials started door-to-door visits as a measure to tackle novel coronavirus pandemic. A scene in Chennai on March 29, 2020.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Provide shelters, enforce 14-day isolation, Home Ministry order tells States, UTs.

Terming the movement of migrant workers to reach their home towns a violation of the lockdown measures on maintaining social distance, the Union Home Ministry on Sunday directed State and Union Territory (UT) governments to provide temporary shelters, food and other essentials to the stranded poor and needy.

The migrant workers who have moved out of their work spots must be quarantined in the nearest shelter after proper screening for a minimum period of 14 days as per standard health protocol, the order added.

Coronavirus | Helpline numbers | Map of confirmed cases in India

In another statement, the Centre said the States and UTs had been asked to strictly enforce the 21-day lockdown by prohibiting movement of people across cities and highways. Directions have been given to seal the district and State borders and allow only the movement of goods.

Adequate arrangements for food and shelter of the poor and needy, including migrant labourers, should also be made at the place of their work, for which the use of the State Disaster Response Fund has already been authorised. 

“Sufficient funds are available with States in this head,” said the statement.

Essentials exempt

In a separate letter to the Chief Secretaries of all States, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, has been allowed. He clarified that groceries include hygiene products such as hand washes, soaps, disinfectants, apart from battery cells, chargers and other items of daily use. 

The entire milk supply and newspaper delivery chains have also been allowed, he said.

Also read | Home Affairs Ministry’s SOP for maintaining supply of essential goods

In order to mitigate the economic hardship of migrants, the Ministry told the State and UT governments to ensure that all employers, including industrialists and shop owners, pay wages without deduction at workplaces, on the due date and for the period their commercial establishments remain closed during the lockdown.

Landlords have been directed not to demand one month’s rent from workers, including migrant workers. 

If any landlord is forcing labourers and students to vacate their premises, they will be liable for action under the Disaster Management Act, the order said. District magistrates and police officers concerned will be personally liable for implementing these orders and the lockdown measures announced by the government, the order added.

“In case of violation of any of the above measures, the respective State/UT government shall take necessary action under the Act,” said the order.

Also read | Stranded workers continue to wait for transport on the Yamuna Expressway

The Cabinet Secretary and the Union Home Secretary are in constant touch with the State Chief Secretaries and the respective Director-Generals of Police via video conferencing to review the situation. 

“It was noted that, by and large, there has been effective implementation of guidelines across all States and Union Territories. Essential supplies have also been maintained,” it said.

At the meetings held in the past couple of days, the Centre has impressed upon all the States that three weeks of strict enforcement is essential to contain the spread of Covid-19 virus. “This is in the interest of everyone,” said the government.

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On Thursday, the Central government had announced a slew of measures to extend support to the needy by providing them with free cereal, pulses and gas cylinders, besides cash transfer of ₹500 per month for the next three months to the women having Jan Dhan accounts. Relief packages were also rolled out for the others.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 7:34:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-centre-warns-lockdown-violators-of-14-day-quarantine/article31198038.ece

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