New Delhi: Soon after the Union cabinet amended the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in order to ensure the safety of health workers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to suggest that it showed his government's "commitment" to protect the medical fraternity.
Modi, who chaired the cabinet meeting, added, "It will ensure safety of our professionals. There can be no compromise on their safety."
PM Narendra Modi: The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 manifests our commitment to protect each and every healthcare worker who is bravely battling COVID-19 on the frontline.
It will ensure safety of our professionals. There can be no compromise on their safety! pic.twitter.com/VEJB1gzlRR
— OTV (@otvnews) April 22, 2020
From now on, violence against medical professionals will be treated as cognizable and non-bailable offence. Additionally, it has provisions to provide compensation for injury to healthcare service providers or for causing damage or loss to property, the government said on Wednesday.
"This actually helps protect the entire health fraternity, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and ASHA workers," said Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Meanwhile, BJP President J.P. Nadda too welcomed the move, stating that the "entire nation is standing together with the Corona Warriors who have devoted themselves to serve the people".
Nadda lauded the medical fraternity for their service during the Covid-19 outbreak by "risking their own lives".
Nadda added that not just the Modi government, but even the BJP cadres stood in solidarity with the healthcare workers.
He also thanked the Indian Medical Association for withdrawing their symbolic protest against a spate of attacks on health workers after Union Home Minister Amit Shah intervened in the matter earlier in the day.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with Chief Ministers of all states and Union territories on April 27. The Monday meeting, scheduled in the morning, will take place through video link. The exact time of the meeting is yet to be confirmed.
The meeting is likely to discuss the country's overall and state-specific progress in the war on Covid-19 in the second leg of the lockdown and the way forward. It will be fourth such meeting since the imposition of lockdown in March.
While the Centre has allowed partial easing in the lockdown norms from April 20 to activities, like road construction, agriculture and mining, few states, such as Telangana, have decided against relaxations.
The Prime Minister is also likely to take up state-specific issues and formulate a common exit plan.
The nationwide 21-day lockdown that started on April 14 was extended till May 3 by Prime Minister Modi on the last day of its first leg. Modi said between life and livelihood, he valued saving lives and that prompted him to extend the lockdown.
By Wednesday evening, Covid-19 tally had reached 20,471 and 652 deaths.