The central government has brought an ordinance to end violence against health workers by amending the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which will allow imprisonment from 6 months to 7 years for those found guilty.
Addressing a press conference, Union minister Prakash Javadekar today said the government would act "tough" against those who would attack doctors and frontline health workers.
He added the crimes against health workers had been made a "non-bailable offense" via the ordinance. Under the new law, investigation in such cases will be completed in a time-bound manner. "Such crime will now be cognizable and non-bailable. Investigation will be done in 30 days. Accused can be sentenced from 3 months-5 years and penalised from Rs 50,000 up to Rs 2 lakh," Javadekar said.
In extremely violent cases, accused may get get six months to seven years in jail.
"Health workers who are trying to save the country from this epidemic are unfortunately facing attacks. No incident of violence or harassment, against them will be tolerated. An ordinance has been brought in, it'll be implemented after President's sanction," Javadekar said.
Javadekar said if damage was done to vehicles or clinics of healthcare workers, a compensation amounting to twice the market value of the damaged property would be charged from the accused.
He also informed that health briefings would now be reduced to four days a week, while press releases and cabinet briefing would be held on alternate days.
He also informed the media that no decision was taken regarding resumption of flight operations amid the nation-wide lockdown in the country. "An announcement will be made on time as to when it will resume," he added.