The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020, that includes protection of healthcare personnels during epidemics, has received presidential assent and has come into force. The Act was passed by the Rajya Sabha on September 19, 2020 and by the Lok Sabha on September 21, 2020.
The Central Government, under this Act gets expanded powers to prevent the spread of such diseases by making provision for inspection of any vehicle, detention of travellers, etc. It also prohibits commission of any violence against a healthcare service personnel or damage to any property during an epidemic.
Violation of the provisions of the Act will be considered a cognizable and non-bailable offence, punishable with imprisonment between three months and five years, and a fine between Rs 50,000 and two lakh rupees. The definitions under “Healthcare service personnel”, “Act of violence”, and
“Property” have been amended in the Act.