The Punjab Government on Friday night clarified that the Coronavirus had not been declared an epidemic in the state and the Health Department had merely issued a precautionary advisory under The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which provides for special measures to prevent outbreak or spread of any dangerous epidemic disease.
Clarifying that the press release issued by the Department on the issue earlier had inadvertently described COVID-2019 as an epidemic disease, an official spokesperson said later that there was absolutely no ‘epidemic’ of the disease in the state.
The Department had issued an advisory under the said Act only as a `temporary regulation’ to combat the threat of the Coronavirus, said the spokesperson, adding that there was no cause for panic at present and the situation was totally under control.
As of now, samples of two of the three persons who came from Italy to Hoshiarpur had been admitted in GMCH Amritsar after they tested positive in preliminary report of AIIMS, Delhi. The final reports were awaited from NIV, Pune, where the samples had been sent, said the spokesperson.
The spokesperson made it clear that while the advisory notification, listing the preventive and precautionary measures, was issued in line with the decisions taken by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to ensure that the disease does not spread in the state, the Government had not taken any decision to declare the disease an epidemic.
According to the spokesperson, under The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, all that the government had done was to take a series of preventive initiatives, including screening of suspected cases, recording of travel history in case of travel to country/area where COVID-19 has been reported, and 14-day home quarantine of person with such history found asymptomatic.
If the person with such travel history, in the past 14 days, is, however, found to be symptomatic as per case definition of COVID-19, he/she must be isolated in a hospital as per protocol and will be tested for COVID-19 as per protocol, according to the advisory.