The Yogi led Uttar Pradesh government has yet again set a strong example by cracking down against those who do not cooperate in the state’s response against Coronavirus even as the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 107.
In such circumstances, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set a strong example even as the Lucknow administration has directed strict legal action against those who do not cooperate with the authorities responsible for tackling Coronavirus.
Invoking Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, it has been ordered that if anyone suspected of carrying the Wuhan virus or anyone coming in contact with such a suspect refuses to get tested or obstructs the team tending to such a suspect, then such person would be booked under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which entails imprisonment for a term extending to six months or a fine of Rs. 1,000.
This development must essentially be viewed in the context of many suspects absconding from quarantine and observation creating serious threats as far as public health situation is concerned. For instance, a group of foreign tourists was stopped from flying to Dubai from the Cochin airport.
This group of foreign travellers consisted of a Coronavirus-confirmed Britisher. The patient was lodged and asked to remain under observation at a state-owned resort in Kerala. The entire group was asked to remain in isolation as the test results office second individual from the group were awaited.
However, the group went onto to break all protocols and board the Dubai bound flight. All 270 passengers on the flight were de-boarded and sent for testing.
Even in Odisha, an Irish man suspected of being infected with Coronavirus and sent to the isolation ward of a government hospital in Cuttack had absconded recently.
More recently, a US couple having symptoms of Coronavirus fled from the Alappuzha Medical College. Later, they were traced at the Kochi International Airport and were put under isolation.
Similarly, the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Punjab government has disclosed, “As many as 335 passengers with travel history to the coronavirus affected countries are untraceable.” With these many missing suspects, there is a clear issue of non-cooperation when it comes to the State response against the Wuhan virus in India.
Till now, India has done a really good job as far as containing the Coronavirus is concerned. Given India’s population and size, the spread of the virus has been quite minuscule compared to European countries which have emerged as the new epicentre of the Pandemic.
Moreover, it is mostly only the international travellers and their immediate families who have tested positive for the Wuhan virus. Fortunately, local transmission has not been an issue, with the State responding effectively and promptly, reaching out to all those who tested positive for COVID-19.
However, all the good work done by the government in the form of a massive logistical exercise and a major awareness campaign launched as soon as the Wuhan virus struck India, could be done to dust with the pattern of those infected with, or having tested positive for Coronavirus escaping observation wards or quarantine facilities.
A single coronavirus patient going large and interacting with the unaffected population 10 very easily take the shape of a major public health hazard. Therefore, it makes all the more sense to crack down and crack down hard on those who panic and go rogue amidst the Coronavirus scare.
The State has got every right to curtail the liberty of an individual who poses a threat to the larger public health, and if such individual doesn’t fall in line, the State also reserves the right to punish such individual, including foreigners who create nuisance on Indian territory virtually threatening the lives of Indian citizens.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had set a strong example by imposing costs upon rioters during the anti-CAA riots in the state, has once again manifested administrative adroitness by cracking down on Coronavirus cases that go rogue. Other states, particularly the Communist-ruled state of Kerala must follow the Uttar Pradesh model given the high number of confirmed cases and frequent instances of confirmed cases absconding in the state.