India declares Coronavirus ‘national disaster’
Central government announces Rs4 lakh compensation to families of each deceased
As India reported two deaths and 84 confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus, the Central government on Saturday declared the pandemic a “national disaster” and announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the families who died of the virus, reported the Statesman.
“Keeping in view that spread of COVID-19 virus in India the declaration of it as pandemic by World Health Organisation, the Central government has decided to treat it as a notified disaster and announced to provide assistance under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF),” the Ministry of Home Affairs in a letter to states and union territories stated.
The Centre said that cost of hospitalization for managing COVID-19 patient would be at the rates fixed by the state governments. The state government can use SDRF found for providing temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care for people affected and sheltered in quarantine camps, other than home quarantine, or for cluster containment operations.
The state executive committee will decide the number of quarantine camps, their duration and the number of persons in such camps. “Period can be extended by the committee beyond the prescribed limit subject to condition that expenditure on this account should not exceed 25 percent of SDRF allocation for the year,” the Ministry of Home Affairs notification stated.
The cost of consumables for sample collection would be taken from the funds which can be sued to support for checking, screening and contact tracing.
Further, funds can also be withdrawn for setting up additional testing laboratories within the government set up. The state has also to bear the cost of personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities. Further SDRF money can also be used for procuring thermal scanners and ventilation and other necessary equipment.
India on Friday reported its second death due to the novel Coronavirus with the demise of a 68-year-old woman at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital in the national capital. Her son, who had returned to India from abroad, had tested positive for the virus.
On Thursday, the first death was reported from Karnataka, where a 76-year-old man had tested positive after returning from Saudi Arabia.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of confirmed cases at 22 followed by Kerala, which has 19 cases.
Almost all the states are on high alert shutting down schools, theatres and colleges, and many public events, including the IPL, have been postponed.
The novel Coronavirus pandemic, which began in the Hubei province of China, has infected more than 145,100 people and killed over 5,400 worldwide.