Today's Paper

New legislation to give State more powers for epidemic control

Govt. asks Governor to approve Ordinance

Kerala has proposed the enactment of the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020 as part of the State’s efforts to tighten regulations to make epidemic control more efficient and effective and to ensure the compliance of public health directives of the State.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the Cabinet had approved the Ordinance and requested the Governor to approve it.

The new Ordinance has been drawn up by annulling the existing Travancore Epidemic Diseases Act and Cochin Epidemic Diseases Act and making the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 invalid in the Malabar region.

The said Ordinance will give the State sweeping powers to close State borders if required in a public health emergency, impose strict regulations on public and private transport and control the functioning of public and private offices and educational institutions.

Restrictions

The State can impose social restrictions, prevent people gathering in public places and issue strict regulations against the gathering of people in religious places of worship.

Violation of the provisions of the said law can invite imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of Rs. 10,000, Mr. Vijayan said.

He observed that the Centre placing the entire nation under lockdown, close on the heels of the State’s lockdown declaration, indicated that the public health threat posed by COVID-19 warranted this dire step.

CM’s appeal

He appealed to the public to stay indoors and avoid social interactions at all cost.

A lockdown was meant to keep people off the road and public places and reduce social contact so that the virus transmission can be broken.

Though this does poses difficulties for people, the government has no option but to ensure that the regulations are clamped down more strictly.

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