14 Mar 2020
Coronavirus a 'notified disaster'; deceased's kin to get financial compensation
The Centre on Saturday declared the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak a "notified disaster."
The Centre called the move a "special one-time dispensation" allowing it to tap into disaster relief funds to tackle the pandemic.
It also announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh for the kin of those who died from the virus. Thus far, two coronavirus patients have died in India.
Assistance for coronavirus to be provided under SDRF
Taking note of the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus outbreak a "pandemic," the Centre said that it has decided to treat the disease as a "notified disaster."
The Centre listed measures to tackle the disease, which will be funded by the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).
The declaration comes a day after the government described the outbreak as "not a health emergency."
Rs. 4 lakh ex-gratia announced for deceased's kin
The Centre announced Rs. 4 lakh as compensation for the kin of those whose deaths have been linked to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by appropriate authorities.
Those involved in relief operations or associated in response activities will also be eligible for this compensation.
Separately, the Centre notified that the cost of hospitalization for coronavirus will be fixed by state governments.
SDRF to cover cost of quarantines, screening, contact tracing, etc.
State Executive Committees will decide the number of quarantine camps, their duration and the number of people the camps will hold.
The SDRF will cover the cost of temporary accommodation, food, clothing, medical care, etc., at quarantine camps.
It will also cover the cost of consumables for sample collection, contact tracing, screening, and checking.
The expenditure must not exceed 25% of the SDRF allocation.
SDRF to cover cost of testing equipment, protective gear, etc.
Essential lab equipment for tackling COVID-19 will also be covered by the SDRF as assessed by the SEC.
The items covered include setting up new testing laboratories for coronavirus; thermal scanners, ventilators, air purifiers, and consumables for government hospitals; and personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities.
The expenditure for this account must not exceed 10% of the SDRF allocation.
Impact in India
Coronavirus cases jump to 84 in India
According to India's Health Ministry, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases rose to 84 on Saturday.
The disease has also led to the deaths of two persons in India.
The deceased include a 76-year-old man in Karnataka's Kalaburagi, who died on Tuesday, and a 68-year-old woman in Delhi, who died on Friday.
The deceased woman was notably the mother of a coronavirus patient.
What is the coronavirus outbreak?
COVID-19 was first detected in China's Wuhan city in December last year.
The disease is caused by a new strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
The virus affects a host's respiratory system and causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, etc.
In severe cases, it causes pneumonia, multiple organ failure, and death.
The disease has sickened 1.45 lakh people and killed over 5,400 worldwide.