Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Asha Menon, JJ., disposed of the petition wherein cooks working in Air Force Kitchens are being made to work for 14 days then 14 days quarantine, then for 7 days they can go to their respective residences — their grievance is that they are being forced to stay away from their homes for 28 days.

Grievance of All India Association of Air Force Civil Cooks

Petitioner-association is being made to live at the Station of their posting and a roster of 14+ 14+ 7 is being followed wherein for the first 14 days they are kept in quarantine, for the next 14 days they are made to work as cooks and thereafter they are given 7 days at home.

The contention placed before the Court is that they are being forced to stay away from their homes for 28 days in a month and out of which for 14 days their services are not utilised, by keeping them quarantined.

In view of the above stated contention, petitioner stated that it is not in terms of their employment that they will be made to stay away from their respective families.

Grievance is also made that they are not being treated as ‘Corona Warriors’ and being thus not conferred benefits to which ‘Corona Warriors’ are entitled.

Decision

Petition has been filed without regard to the prevalent circumstances and the large scale loss of employment and resultant hardships being faced by those without assurance of employment.

Members of the petitioner though having surety of employment are making grievances of inconveniences allegedly being suffered by them, forgetting that the members of the petitioner , as cooks is permitted to return to their respective residences after duty hours every day, are likely to bring them COVID-19 infection, when reporting back for duty.

They cannot thus seek enforcement of employment terms as in normal times, when the entire country is going through abnormal times.

Further the Court added that, while working in the kitchen at the Air Force Stations, the members of the petitioner cannot be said to be exposed in any manner to the Corona virus, to claim themselves to be “frontline workers” as the counsel for the petitioner argues.

Court also enquired from the respondents counsel appearing — why the members of the petitioners cannot be made to reside at the respective Air Force Stations for a longer period than of 14+14 days, say for three or six months at a time, as per the requirement, so that the time spent in quarantine by the members of the petitioner at the Air Force Stations is brought down.

With regard to petitioners grievance in respect to meals being charged. Court has asked the respondents counsel, whether a better arrangement therefor can be worked out or charges for meals be dispensed.

Thus, Court on finding no merit in the present matter and disposed it of while requesting the respondents to either centrally or regionally or at each Station, hold consultations with the representatives of the members of the petitioner and to explore if any other arrangement, satisfactory to the members of the petitioner, can be worked out. [All India Air Force Civilian Cooks Assn. v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 663 , decided on 22-06-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The health care personnel working in hospitals are at increased risk of acquiring the COVID-19 disease, if there is a breach in the personal protection while managing patients. The health-work force is a valuable and scarce resource. Large number of COVID-19 affected health personnel getting isolated for treatment and their close contacts undergoing quarantine affects the health/ hospital service delivery.

Institutional Mechanism for preventing and responding to Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) among HCWs

Hospitals shall activate its Hospital Infection Control Committee (HICC).The HICC in the health facility is responsible for implementing the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) activities and organizing regular trainings on IPC for HCWs.

A Nodal Officer (Infection Control Officer) shall be identified by each hospital to address all matters related to Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs). With reference to preventing such infection among healthcare workers, he/she will ensure that:

i. Healthcare workers in different settings of hospitals shall use PPEs appropriate to their risk profile as detailed in the guidelines issued by this Ministry (available at: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/GuidelinesonrationaluseofPersonalProtectiveEquipment.pdf and https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/UpdatedAdditionalguidelinesonrationaluseofPersonalProtectiveE quipmentsettingapproachforHealthfunctionariesworkinginnonCOVID19areas.pdf )

ii. All healthcare workers have undergone training on Infection Prevention and Control and they are aware of common signs and symptoms, need for self-health monitoring and need for prompt reporting of such symptoms.

iii. Provisions have been made for regular (thermal) screening of all hospital staff.

iv. All healthcare workers managing COVID-19 cases are being provided with chemo-prophylaxis under medical supervision.

v. Provisions have been made for prompt reporting of breach of PPE by the hospital staff and follow up action.

Action for Healthcare Workers

i. Ensure that all preventive measures like frequent washing of hands/use of alcohol based hand sanitizer, respiratory etiquettes (using tissue/handkerchief while coughing or sneezing), etc. are followed at all times.

ii. He/she shall use appropriate PPE at all times while on duty.

iii. A buddy system* to be followed to ensure that there is no breach in infection prevention control practices.

iv. Any breach in PPE and exposure is immediately informed to the nodal officer/HoD of the department

v. HCWs after leaving the patient care units (wards/OPDs/ICUs) at the doctor’s duty rooms/hostels/canteen or outside the HCF must follow social distancing and masking to prevent transmission to/acquiring infection from other HCWs who may be positive.

vi. Pregnant/lactating mothers and immuno – compromised healthcare workers shall inform their medical condition to the hospital authorities for them to get posted only in non-Covid areas.

*Buddy system: Under this approach, two or more-person team is formed amongst the deployed hospital staff who share responsibilities for his/her partner’s safety and well-being in the context of (i) Appropriately donning and doffing of PPEs, (ii) maintaining hand hygiene and (iii) taking requisite steps on observing breach of PPEs.

SOP for health work force deployment during COVID-19

SOP to be followed in case HCW reports exposure/breach of PPE

All the Healthcare workers must report every exposure to COVID-19 to the concerned nodal officer and HoD of the concerned department immediately.

The Nodal officer will get the exact details of exposure to ascertain whether the exposure constitutes a high risk or low risk exposure.

To read more details on the above, please follow the link below:

ADVISORY


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Advisory dt. 18-06-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Travellers coming to India from international flights have to undergo 14 days quarantine which includes 7 days paid institutional quarantine and 7 days home quarantine. Exemptions have been given to certain categories of passengers in certain cases[1].

For domestic air travel, MHA requires passengers to undergo home quarantine for 14 days[2] however states are free to make their own protocol for passengers entering their state.

The protocol made by states is as follows:

  1. Andhra Pradesh: Passengers travelling to Andhra Pradesh are required to undergo quarantine for 14 days at home or at a government facility. If coming from Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan and MP then 7 days institutional quarantine followed by home quarantine has to be followed[3].
  2. Assam: Assam requires passengers to undergo 7 days institutional quarantine followed by 7 days of home quarantine[4].
  3. Bihar: Domestic passengers, who are asymptomatic after reaching the airport will not be quarantined[5].
  4. Chandigarh: The Union Territory of Chandigarh requires no quarantine[6].
  5. Chattisgarh: A period of 14 days isolation is required by the state. This could be in a hotel, government facility or at home[7].
  6. Delhi: Asymptomatic passengers have to undergo home isolation for 14 days. Symptomatic passengers will be taken for institutional quarantine[8].
  7. Goa: The Government of Goa has given three options. Produce a COVID negative test from an ICMR authorized lab, get a test done for Rs 2000 or stay in home quarantine after being stamped[9].
  8. Haryana: The Gurgaon administration mandates 14 day home quarantine[10].
  9. Himachal Pradesh: In Himachal Pradesh, it is mandatory to undergo 14 days institutional quarantine for those who are coming from the red zone.[11] Passengers from the green/orange zone will be sent to home quarantine after screening[12].
  10. Jammu and Kashmir: Passengers are required to undergo 14 days of institutional quarantine after a compulsory COVID Test.[13]
  11. Jharkhand: 14 days home quarantine is mandatory.[14]
  12. Karnataka: Karnataka had made different rules for people coming from different states. Passengers coming from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have to undergo 7 day institutional quarantine followed by 7 days of home isolation. Passengers coming from other states have to quarantine at home for 14 days.[15]
  13. Kerala: Kerala requires incoming passengers to undergo 14 day isolation at home from the date of arrival.[16]
  14. Madhya Pradesh: In MP, passengers showing symptoms will be sent to either COVID care centre or dedicated COVID-19 hospital or institutional quarantine facility for 10 days.[17] After 10 days, if such a passenger shows no symptoms for another three days then the person can be discharged but will have to stay in home quarantine for 7 days.[18]
  15. Maharashtra: Passengers are required to undergo 14 day home isolation.[19]
  16. Mizoram: Covid test and mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Permission has to be taken before returning to the state.[20]
  17. Nagaland: For passengers from green and orange zones, 14 days home quarantine is required. For passengers returning from red zones, 14 days institutional quarantine followed by 14 days home quarantine is required.[21]
  18. Odisha:  Those returning to urban areas will undergo home isolation for 14 days. Those returning to rural areas will undergo 7 days institutional isolation and 7 days home isolation.[22]
  19. Punjab: The state of Punjab requires travellers to undergo 14 day home isolation[23]
  20. Rajasthan: Home quarantine for 14 days has to be followed.[24]
  21. Tamil Nadu: 14 days isolation at home[25]. Institutional quarantine for those who don’t have this facility at home. Passengers coming to Tamil Nadu have to obtain an e-pass.[26]
  22. Telangana: Symptomatic passengers would be taken to Covid hospital, rest can go home.[27]
  23. Uttar Pradesh: UP mandates 14 days home quarantine. Those who are on business visit are exempted but they have to give details of the place where they will be staying and can stay upto 7 days. The passengers coming to UP also need to register. The details are given in the footnote below.[28]
  24. Uttarakhand: Passengers will be kept in institutional quarantine for a time period as specified by state govt unless they show symptoms which require quarantine in medical facilities.[29]
  25. West Bengal: Asymptomatic passengers can self quarantine at home for 14 days and symptomatic passengers will be tested and taken to institutional centres[30].
  26. Lakshadweep: People returning to Lakshadweep will be quarantined in Kochi, Kerala for 7 days. This will be followed by testing and on testing negative the passengers will be allowed to return. On returning to the island, they will again be quarantined for 14 days.[31]
  27. Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu: Institutional quarantine for 14 days.[32]
  28. Andaman and Nicobar: Only symptomatic passengers will need to undergo quarantine in COVID care centres.[33]
  29. Meghalaya: All passengers will be tested and kept in institutional quarantine upto 48 hours till results come.[34]

The rules will keep getting added and modified as states update their rules.


[1] https://twitter.com/MoCA_GoI/status/1264494489592160256/photo/1

[2] Pages 1-6  https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[3] Pages 12-13 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf

[4] https://covid19.assam.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/1-4.pdf, (pages 18-23) https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf

[5] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/19-flights-to-resume-operations-tomorrow/articleshow/75925062.cms

[6] https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/chandigarh-13-domestic-flights-to-take-off-from-chandigarh-from-today-6425841/

[7] Pages 31-33 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[8] Pages 1-2 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf

[9] Pages 14-15 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf

[10] Guidelines for domestic travel air/train/inter-state bus travel – ’25/05/2020′ https://haraadesh.nic.in/

[11] Pages 13-15 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[12] Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority, Circular No. Rev (DMC) (c) 20-2/2020-COVID 19. Dated 23.05.2020

[13] Circular No. 27-JK (DMRRR) of 2020. Dated 23.05.2020. https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf (Page 3-4)

[14] https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/jharkhand-mandates-14-day-home-quarantine-for-incoming-air-passengers.html

[15] Pages 69-91 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[16] Pages 92-96 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[17] Circular IDSP/2020/435 Dated 23.05.2020

[18] Page 29-30 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[19] https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/coronavirus-lockdown-maharshtra-issues-new-rules-sop-for-passengers-flying-into-mumbai-2234935

[20] https://nenow.in/health/mizoram-govt-issues-sop-for-people-arriving-at-airport.html

[21] Pages 65-68 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[22] Office of Special Relief Commissioner, Government of Odisha, Circular No. 2902/ R&D (DM), dated 24.05.2020. Pages 39-41 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[23] Page 5 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf, Page 23 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[24] Pages 16-17 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf

[25] https://cms.tn.gov.in/sites/default/files/go/hfw_e_219_2020.PDF, https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf (pages 6-7)

[26] https://twitter.com/chennaicorp/status/1264886449448591361

[27] https://www.outlookindia.com/newscroll/no-quarantine-in-telangana-for-domestic-travellers-without-covid-symptoms/1845035

[28] https://twitter.com/ANINewsUP/status/1264511207878225920

[29] https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1264536617663950849, Pages 17-19 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[30](Pages 6-7) https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOP-central.pdf

[31] Disaster Management Authority, Lakshadweep Administration, Circular no. F-21/7/2020-COL. Pages 43-50 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[32] Pages 51-52 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[33] Pages 53-58 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

[34] Page 61-64 https://www.goindigo.in/content/dam/indigov2/6e-website/banners/2020/SOPs_of_states.pdf

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Guidelines for domestic travel (air/train/inter-state bus travel)

1) Dos and Don’ts shall be provided along with tickets to the travellers by the agencies concerned.

2) All passengers shall be advised to download Arogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

3) Suitable announcement about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports/railway station/bus terminals and in flights/trains/bus.

4) The States/UTs shall ensure that all passengers shall undergo thermal screening at the point of departure and only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to board the flight/train/bus.

5) During boarding and travel, all passengers shall use face covers/mask. They will also follow hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and maintain environmental hygiene.

6) At airports/railway stations/ bus terminals required measures to ensure social distancing shall be taken.

7) Airports/railway stations/bus terminals should be regularly sanitized/disinfected and availability of soaps and sanitizers shall be ensured.

8) Thermal screening at exit point shall be arranged.

9) Asymptomatic passengers will be permitted to go with the advice that they shall self-monitor their health for 14 days. In case, they develop any symptoms, they shall inform the district surveillance officer or the state/national call center (1075).

10) Those found symptomatic will be isolated and taken to the nearest health facility. They will be assessed for clinical severity at the health facility.

11) Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated COVID Health facilities and managed accordingly.

12) Those having mild symptoms will be given the option of home isolation or isolated in the Covid Care Centre (both public & private facilities) as appropriate and tested as per ICMR protocol available at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Revisedtestingguidelines.pdf.

If positive, they will continue in COVID Care Centre and will be managed as per clinical protocol.

If negative, the passenger may be allowed to go home, isolate himself/herself and self monitor his/her health for further 7 days. In case, any symptoms develop they shall inform the district surveillance officer or the state/national call center (1075).

NOTE: States can also develop their own protocol with regards to quarantine and isolation as per their assessment.


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[Press Release dt. 24-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken cognizance of a complaint that the Government of Maharashtra has adopted an inappropriate approach about the release of prisoners, which may lead to infecting many prisoners with Covid-19. The complaint has been filed by the Commission’s Prison Monitor, Ms Maja Daruwala.

Allegedly, the policy adopted by Maharashtra Government to decongest jails has arisen due to misinterpretation of directions given by the Supreme Court in the matter. Allegedly random tests conducted on 144 prisoners in the Arthur Road Jail, 103 were found positive including 26 members of the staff. The complainant has requested for the intervention of the Commission to ensure the well-being of the prisoner. Several suggestions have been given in her communication.

The Commission has observed that it is aware of the fact that in many jails, the prisoners as well as the staff members have fallen prey to the Covid-19 virus due to overcrowding, lack of manpower and medical facilities.

Accordingly, it has sent a copy of the complaint to the Chief Secretary and the DG (Prisons), Maharashtra calling for a detail report in the matter within four weeks.

The report should be submitted to the Commission in a format giving details of all the jails in the State of Maharashtra mentioning capacity of the jail, number of prisoners presently lodged, number of prisoners found positive for Covid-19, number of prisoners kept under quarantine, number of prisoners died due to Covid-19 illness and steps being taken by the State prison authority to ensure safety of the prisoners and the personnel working at the jails across the state.

According to the complaint on 23.03.2020, the Supreme Court has directed all the States and UTs to constitute a high powered committee to decide which class of prisoners will be released in order to decongest the jails by way of bail or parole etc. The directions have been given due to spread of Covid-19 inside various jails and to maintain social distancing, at the maximum.

She has mentioned that 60 jails in the State of Maharashtra have 36,000 inmates against the available capacity of 24,095. Only, the Yerwada Central Prison in Pune which is one of the largest prisons of the State, houses over 6,000 inmates against available capacity of 2,500. It is also mentioned that a large number of posts are lying vacant in these prisons, including medical staff.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 14-05-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressLegislation UpdatesNotifications

UPDATE

Order regarding shortage of staff in the non-COVID hospitals due to infection of Doctors and Staff, is kept in abeyance till further orders.


Earlier Order

It is reported that many doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff in non- COVID hospitals are either getting infected or reported as contact to infected person and Medical Directors of respective hospitals are indiscriminately sending them in quarantine either at hotels or their homes for 14 days. This practice is causing unnecessary shortage of doctor & staff at the Hospitals. It seems, it is happening because either hospitals are not following standard SOPs or such persons are not following guidelines prescribed tor health care workers.

Thus, All Medical Directors are directed to obtain written explanation from an such person as how these persons got infected or become a contact in spite of wearing required protective gears, maintaining safe distance and following precautions prescribed for health care workers.

Further, Medical Director is required to constitute a team of Doctors to ascertain whether a contact, fulfils the Govt. of India guidelines to be declared as the contact of positive patient.

To access the official Orders, please click on the link below:

Order 1

Order 2


Government of NCT of Delhi

[Order dt. 01-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner. The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard.

Indian Embassies and High Commissions are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. This facility would be made available on payment-basis. Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel. The travel would begin in a phased manner from May 7.

Medical screening of passengers would be done before taking the flight. Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel. During the journey, all these passengers would have to follow the protocols, such as the Health Protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

On reaching the destination, everyone would have to register on the Arogya Setu app. Everyone would be medically screened. After scrutiny, they would be quarantined for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the concerned State government. COVID test would be done after 14 days and further action would be taken according to health protocols.

The Ministries of External Affairs and Civil Aviation would soon share detailed information about it through their websites.

State Governments are being advised to make arrangements, including for testing, quarantine and onward movement of the returning Indians in their respective States.


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Source: PIB]

[Press Release dt. 04-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has asked all States and Union Territories to ensure basic physical accessibility features for Divyangjan (PwDs) as per reasonable accommodation in the centres for COVID-19 testing and quarantine facilities as well as for treatment at hospitals and health centres.

In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs, Shakuntala D. Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has said that to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, many COVID-19 centres have been identified as containment units, isolation treatment centres and testing labs for enhancing the holding capacity for medical purposes as required. The current crisis poses even greater threats to the Divyangjan not just due to their lesser/compromised immunity, ability to perceive or comprehend information but also due to non-availability of accessibility features in the physical environment and eco-system provided at such COVID related facilities.

DEPwD has already published guidelines concerning information dissemination in alternative accessible formats, priority treatment for the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and provisions of safety, healthy living and hygiene for PwDs, attendants, care-givers and accessible service providers, such as sign language interpreters. In addition, it is also necessary that basic physical accessibility features are ensured, as per reasonable accommodation in the centres for COVID-19 testing and quarantine facilities as well as for treatment at hospitals and health centres.

States/UTs have been requested to urgently initiate necessary action to ensure these basic features of accessibility are provided so that PwDs, persons with restricted mobility and those dependent upon attendants/caregivers are not inconvenienced further, especially during the times of this pandemic. The basic features of accessibility are as follows:

  1. All operating and control mechanisms and self-operated devices (sanitizer dispensers, glove cases, soaps, wash basins) are placed within approachable reach of PwDs, especially for wheelchair users.
  2. Graphical and simple, prominent signage as per standard requirements of colour and contrast are put up.
  3. Ramps (gradient 1:12) with railings are provided.
  4. At least One (01) low height accessible counter at reception, testing areas and pharmacies.
  5. Audio announcements and captioned videos for public announcements of important news to be made.
  6. Ensure accessibility in lifts or assigning liftman in at least one lift for extending help to PwDs.
  7. Reserving areas/ rooms/ wards for PwDs that may be provided with accessible toilets.
  8. Provision for vestibular cabins for attendants of COVID-19 patients, especially with intellectual disability and mental illness.

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

[Press Release dt. 29-04-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of Abhay S. Oka, CJ and B.V. Nagarathna, J. while addressing a petition with regard to release of information of people who contracted COVID-19 at Nizamuddin, Delhi,  stated that,

It is a policy decision and Court cannot interfere in the same.

The present petition was filed seeking direction to respondent 2 to provide complete information to respondent 1 and National Executive Committee constituted under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 relating to foreign nationals as well as individuals of State of Karnataka who attended Nizamuddin gathering and disbursed from the said gathering.

State Government’s submission states that it has taken steps to trace the Foreign and Indian Nationals who attended the religious ceremony at Nizamuddin in Delhi and further steps to quarantine them have been taken.

With regard to furnishing the information of the Foreign and Indian Nationals who attended the religious ceremony at Nizamuddin in Delhi, Centre and State have been periodically releasing the number of person who have been found to be positive and negative along with the number of cases that have been recovered.

Further, the Bench stated that,

“State Government or Central Government will have to take a decision on the question whether specific information as regards particular persons who have allegedly contacted corona virus at a particular place should be made public or not. It is a matter of policy.”

In view of the above, petition is disposed of. [Girish Bharadwaj v. State of Karnataka, 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 445 , decided on 21-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In continuation of the Office Memorandum of even number dated 16th April, 2020 drawing attention to Ministry of Home Affairs’ consolidated guidelines regarding functioning of offices from 20th April, 2020, all officers/officials are advised to take following precautionary measures in order to contain spread of COVID-19:

 (i)  Must use reusable/cloth face cover

(ii)  Ensure proper cleaning and frequent sanitization of the workplace, particularly of the frequently touched surfaces.

(iii) Cover your nose and mouth with handkerchief/tissue while sneezing and coughing.

(iv) Maintain personal hygiene and physical distancing.

(v) Strict disinfection protocols should be followed  in the building/room as per guidelines.

(vi) Practice frequent hand washing with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub/sanitizers. 

(vii) Seating arrangement in Sections/rooms adequate distance between officials in the rooms.

(viii) Gathering especially in canteens must be avoided.

(ix) Gathering of 5 or more persons at any place in the office should be avoided.

(x) Discourage, to the maximum extent, entry of visitors in the office complex. Routine issue of visitors/temporary passes has already been suspended. Only Those visitors who have proper permission of the officer, whom they want to meet, should be allowed after being properly screened.

(xi) Meetings should be done through video conferencing only.

(xii) Undertake essential correspondence on official email and avoid sending physical files and documents to other offices, to the extent possible.

(xiii) Facilitate delivery and receipt of dak at the entry point itself of the office building, as far as possible.

(XIV) All officials are advised to take care of their own health and look out for symptoms such as fever, respiratory problem and, if feeling unwell, should leave the workplace immediately after informing their reporting officers.

(xv) Such employees should observe home-quarantine as per the guidelines issued by MOH&FW, Government of India.

(xvi) The leave sanctioning authorities are advised to sanction leave whenever any request is made for self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.

(xvii) All employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions should take extra precautions. These employees should not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public.

Employees residing in notified containment zones are advised to follow the guidelines of the local authorities regarding movement in these zones and should join office only when such conditions are relaxed by the local authorities concerned.

Employees advised to strictly follow the above mentioned measures.

Access the Official Memorandum here: OFFICIAL MEMORANDUM


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[Office Memorandum dt. 19-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Kindly refer to the Guidelines on lockdown measures to be taken by Ministries/Departments of Government of India, States/Union Territory Governments and State/Union Territory Authorities for containment of COVID 19 epidemic in the country, as notified by Ministry of Home Affairs on 24.03.2020, and clarifications issued subsequently.

2. It has come to the notice of this Ministry that in some parts of the country, the aforesaid guidelines and clarifications are not being implemented in letter and spirit. Specifically,

(i) trucks carrying essential and non-essential goods are being detained;

(ii) workers needed for operation of manufacturing units of essential goods, and other exempted categories are not getting authorizations/ passes for their movement;

(iii) inter State movement of goods and personnel related to categories (i) & (ii) above is getting impeded as passes,” authorizations issued by authorities of one State/ UT Government are not being respected by the authorities of other States/ UTs; and

(iv) operations of cold storage and warehouses are not being allowed.

3. The aforesaid restrictions. with regard to activities specifically permitted by MHA. have the potential of creating shortages of essential commodities. With a view to brining in clarity at the implementation level. the following are being reiterated for strict observance by the authorities at various levels:

i. Inter-state and intra—state movement of al trucks and other goods / carrier vehicles with one driver and one additional person is allowed as long as the driver is carrying a valid driver’s license. This is irrespective of the nature of the cargo, whether essential or otherwise. No further permit or approval would be required.

ii. Empty trucks/goods carriers should also be allowed to operate while on way to pick up goods. or returning after completing a delivery. Hence, there is no cause to stop empty trucks provided they have valid documents such as driving license & road permit etc.

iii. Local authorities should actively facilitate the movement of truck drivers and cleaners from their place of residence to location of their trucks.

iv. Local authorities should facilitate the easy to and fro movement of workers to workplace and back, in respect of al the permitted industrial/ commercial activities.

v. Railways. Airports. Seaports. and Customs authorities have already been authorised to issue passes for their staff and contractual labour. This may be ensured.

vi. Regarding issuance of passes to workers engaged in the manufacturing of permitted categories, the State/ UT Governments are advised to expeditiously issue passes on the basis of authorizations issued by companies/ organizations. The State/ UT Governments shall ensure that these passes are honored both for movement within their State/ UT and in bordering areas of other States/ UTs.

vii. MSMEs engaged in the manufacture of essential items like wheat flour (atta), pulses (dal) and edible oils should be allowed to function freely, without any hindrances.

viii. Warehouses/ cold storage should be allowed to freely function with allowance for to and fro movement of trucks and without regard to the nature of the goods whether essential or otherwise. Warehouses of companies should also be allowed to operate.

4. These stipulations will apply to all areas other than the areas requiring containment, quarantine and surveillance measures (hotspots) as per the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India Where State Governments/local authorities have imposed restrictions for preventing the spread of COVlD—19.

5. It is clarified that movement of persons and vehicles, as above. shall be subject to strict adherence to norms of hygienic and social distancing. as is required in the context of COVID-19.

6. It is again reiterated that all district authorities and field agencies may please be informed of the above instructions, so that there is no ambiguity at the ground level, and activities allowed by MHA are carried without any hindrance.


 

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

In view of reported incidents of harassment of Doctors and Medical Staff, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed all States/UTs and respective Police authorities to provide necessary Police Security to them in hospitals and at places where patients who have been diagnosed COVID-19 positive or where suspected cases are quarantined.

It has also been communicated to provide necessary police security to doctors and medical staff who visit places to conduct screening of people to find out symptoms of the disease.


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 11-04-2020]

[Source: PIB]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute infectious respiratory disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment, the disease presentation is more likely to be severe in older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, etc.

Purpose of the advisory

Migrant workers from peri-urban and rural parts of the country who migrate to large cities constitute a sizeable segment of urban population across the country. During outbreak of a communicable disease or social distancing measures as being undertaken for COVID-19 Pandemic, such populations tend to return back to their homes. In such a scenario, the resultant congregations of migrant workers in bus stations/State borders may make them susceptible to COVID-19 infection. Further such exposed individuals may later become infected and carry this infection to far flung rural localities. Also it would be difficult to track them and their contacts. Hence this advisory.

Advisory

1. Advisory by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)

The migrant workers will remain at their regular place of work/local residence within the city. They will not be evacuated (sic evicted) either by their employer/landlord. Action to this effect and to address other related issues will be taken by local administration as per advisories being issued by Ministry of Home Affairs.

2. Health actions at place of congregation of migrant workers

As some of the migrant workers have already moved in groups and either reached their destination or are on their way, the health actions would be based on the locations where the migrant workers are currently located.

2.1 Migrant workers who are in the cities of their local residence

2.2 Migrant workers who are on their way and are yet to reach their destination city/village

2.3 Migrant workers who have reached their destination

* In facility quarantine, quarantine period shall be extended if a positive case is detected during the 14 days of quarantine. This extension of quarantine shall be applicable for all who were in close contact with the positive case and will be effective for 14 days since last close contact with the positive case, subject to the fact that there had been no intermingling with the person tested positive and his close contacts with other quarantined population. (Otherwise the extension of quarantine period shall be applicable to all quarantined persons).

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) shared details of foreign and Indian Tabhlig Jamaat (TJ) workers in India with all States on March 21, 2020, after COVID-19 positive cases among these workers surfaced in Telangana.

The swift action was taken with a view to identify, isolate and quarantine TJ workers who might be COVID-19 positive. Instructions were also issued by MHA to Chief Secretaries and DGsP of all States as well as CP, Delhi. The advisories were reiterated by the DIB to all State DGsP on March 28 and 29.

Meanwhile, TJ workers staying in the Markaz in Nizamuddin, Delhi, were also persuaded for medical screening by State authorities and Police. By March 29, nearly 162 TJ workers were medically screened and shifted to quarantine facilities. So far, 1339 Tabligh Jamaat workers have been shifted to Narela, Sultanpuri and Bakkarwala quarantine facilities as well as to LNJP, RGSS, GTB, DDU Hospitals and AllMS, Jhajjar. Rest of them are being currently medically screened for COVID-19 infections.

Usually, all the foreign nationals visiting India as a part of Tabligh team come on the strength of tourist visa. MHA had already issued guidelines that they should not indulge in missionary work on tourist visa. State Police would be examining categories of visas of all these foreign TJ workers and take further action in case of violation of visa conditions.

BACKGROUND

Tabligh Jamaat Headquarter (Markaz) is located in Nizamuddin, Delhi. Devout Muslims from across the country and also from foreign countries visit the Markaz for religious purpose. Some also move out in groups to different parts of the country for Tabligh activities. This is a continuous process throughout the year.

On March 21, approximately 824 foreign Tabligh Jamaat workers were in different parts of the country for missionary work. Besides, around 216 foreign national were staying in the Markaz. In addition, over 1500 Indian TJ workers were also staying in the Markaz while around 2100 Indian TJ workers were touring different parts of the country for missionary work. Since March 23, lockdown has been strictly imposed by State authorities/PoIice across Delhi including in and around Nizamuddin and Tabligh work came to a halt.

Click here to see document on Tabligh Activities in India


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 31-03-2020]

[Source: PIB]

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

To alleviate sufferings of the people during the 21-day nationwide lockdown, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has communicated to the State/UT governments to take appropriate measures to ensure effective implementation of the lockdown measures on maintaining social distance, while mitigating the economic hardship of the migrant workers during this period.

Under the directions from the Union Home Minister, the Union Home Secretary has written to the States/UTs to take measures to create relief shelters with all basic amenities and mitigate economic hardships to prevent movement of a large number of migrant workers to their domicile States, so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To ensure effective implementation of the lockdown measures, and to mitigate the economic hardship of the migrant workers, all States/UTs have been advised to take following additional measures:

  • State/UT Governments to ensure adequate arrangements of temporary shelters, and provision of food etc. for the poor and needy people, including migrant labourers, stranded due to lockdown measures in their respective areas;
  • The migrant people, who have moved out to reach their home states/ home towns, to be kept in the nearest shelter by the respective State/UT Government quarantine facilities after proper screening for a minimum period of 14 days as per standard health protocol;
  • All the employers, be it in the Industry or in the shops and commercial establishments, to make payment of wages of their workers, at their work places, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown;
  • It is to be ensured that wherever the workers, including the migrants, are living in rented accommodation, the landlords of those properties must not demand payment of rent for a period of one month.
  • If any landlord is forcing labourers and students to vacate their premises, they will be liable for action under the Act.

In case of violation of any of the above measures, the respective State/UT Government, would take necessary action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the District Magistrate/ Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police/ Superintendent of Police/ Deputy Commissioner of Police would be personally liable for implementation of the above directions and lockdown measures issued earlier.

Read the Order here: MHA ORDER TO STATES/UTs


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 29-03-2020]

[Source: PIB]

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Cabinet secretary and MHA are in constant touch with State Chief Secretaries and DGPs. Video Conferences were held by Cabinet Secretary & Home Secretary yesterday evening and today morning with Chief Secretaries & DGPs.

It was noted that, by and large, there has been effective Implementation of guidelines across all states and UTs. Essential supplies have also been maintained. Situation is being monitored round the clock and necessary measures are being taken as required.

However, there has been movement of migrant workers in some parts of the country. Directions were issued that district and state borders should be effectively sealed. States were directed to ensure there is no movement of people across cities or on highways. Only movement of goods should be allowed. DMs and SPs should be made personally responsible for implementation of these directions which have been issued under the DM Act.

It has been advised that adequate arrangements for food and shelter of poor and needy people including migrant labourers be made at the place of their work. Centre had yesterday issued orders for use of SDRF funds for this purpose. Sufficient funds are available with States in this head.

States have been also told to ensure timely payment of wages to labourers at their place of work during the period of lockdown without any cut. House Rent should not be demanded from the labourers for this period. Action should be taken against those who are asking labourers or students to vacate the premises.

Those who have violated the lockdown and traveled during the period of lockdown will be subject to minimum 14 days of quarantine in government quarantine facilities. Detailed instructions on monitoring of such persons during quarantine have been issued to States.

It was impressed upon all the States that three weeks of strict enforcement is essential to contain spread of corona virus. This is in the interest of everyone.


Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

[Press Release dt. 29-03-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Business NewsCOVID 19News

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic indicating significant and ongoing person-to-person spread in multiple countries, with the uncertainty about the extent of spread and the likely impact on the global economy.

Several confirmed cases have also been detected in India, which highlight the need of a co-ordinated strategy for handling the emerging situations for protecting the resilience of the Indian financial system.

2. While the Government of India, in co-ordination with the state machineries, is already taking steps for preventing and controlling the local transmission of disease, further steps, including the indicative list presented below, are required to be taken by the respective banks/financial institutions as a part of their existing operational and business continuity plans:

(a) Devising strategy and monitoring mechanism concerning the spread of the disease within the organisation, making timely interventions for preventing further spread in case of detection of infected employees including travel plans and quarantine requirements as well as avoiding spread of panic among staff and  members of the public;

(b) Taking stock of critical processes and revisiting Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in the emerging situations/scenarios with the aim of continuity in critical interfaces and preventing any disruption of services, due to absenteeism either driven by the individual cases of infections or preventive measures;

(c) Taking steps of sharing important instructions/ strategy with the staff members at all levels, for soliciting better response and participation and sensitizing the staff members about preventive measures/steps to be taken in suspected cases, based on the instructions received from health authorities, from time-to-time;

(d) Encourage their customers to use digital banking facilities as far as possible.

3. Besides taking steps as above for ensuring business process resilience, supervised entities should also assess the impact on their balance sheet, asset quality, liquidity, etc. arising out of potential scenarios such as further spread of COVID-19 in India and its effect on the economy, contagion from wider disruption in the global economy and the global financial system, etc. Based on the above studies, they should take immediate contingency measures to manage the risks under intimation to us.

4. As the situation requires to be monitored closely, both from business and social perspective, a Quick Response Team may be constituted for the purpose, which shall provide regular updates to the top management on significant developments and act as a single point of contact with regulators/outside institutions/agencies.


Reserve Bank of India

[Notification dt. 16-03-2020]