While the coronavirus cases in India cross the 21,000 mark with a death toll of 678 and with Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, UP and Delhi reporting a steep number of cases the role of the medical fraternity is indeed pivotal. Recent reports of violence towards the health care professionals had sent huge waves of protest and criticism from people for those who had committed these ghastly deeds towards the brave COVID – 19 soldiers. The Prime Minister had also repeatedly shown his displeasure and warned against this misbehaviour towards the health care professionals.
The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was hailed by Shri Narendra Modi on Wednesday the 22nd April 2020. He tweeted to his followers that there would be no compromise on the safety of the medical professionals. This ordinance will ensure a punishment of upto 7 years imprisonment and or a fine upto 5 lacs for those guilty of this offence. The Indian penal code and the National Security act have been invoked in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh to punish and take action against anybody who tries to assault or harm the health care workers. While there have been reports of atrocities against doctors and nurses by way of physical violence, like the incident in Indore, or even being spat on, there have also been reports where the landlords have asked them to vacate their houses due to fear of infection. The medical professionals have been battling emotional, mental and physical harassment apart from battling COVID – 19 and being of great service to the nation and those affected.
In view of the growing anti – doctors and nurses sentiment, certain doctors associations had been requesting the government to make any harassment against the medical fraternity a non bailable offence, but with the passing of this ordinance it shows the governments’ and the PM’s commitment towards the protection of the front line warriors from any atrocities in the current pandemic .