Kerala Promulgates Epidemic Diseases Ordinance to Tackle COVID-19

Violations of the regulations under this ordinance will mean punishment of up to 2 years’ imprisonment.

2 min read
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

On Friday, 27 March, Kerala promulgated the Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020 to give the government more powers to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

The ordinance allows the state government to make any regulations:

(a) to prohibit any usage or act which the Government considers sufficient to spread or transmit epidemic diseases from person to person in any gathering, celebration, worship or other such activities within the State;

(b) to inspect the persons arriving in the State by air, rail, road, sea or any other means or in quarantine or isolation, as the case may be, in hospital, temporary accommodation, home or otherwise of persons suspected of being infected with any such disease by the officers authorised in the regulation or orders;

(c) to seal State borders for such period as may be deemed necessary;

(d) to impose restrictions on the operation of public and private transport;

(e) to prescribe social distancing norms;

(f) to restrict or prohibit congregation of persons in public places and religious institutions;

(g) to regulate or restrict the functioning of offices, Government and private, and educational institutions in the State;

(h) to impose prohibition or restrictions on the functioning of shops and commercial establishments, factories, workshops and godowns;

(i) to restrict duration of services in essential or emergency services such as banks, media, healthcare, food supply, electricity, water, fuel, etc.;

(j) such other measures as may be necessary for the regulation and prevention of epidemic diseases as decided by the Government.

Violations of the regulations made by the Kerala government under this ordinance will mean punishment of up to 2 years’ imprisonment, or a fine of up to Rs 10,000, or both (after conviction).

Kerala reported its first COVID-19 death on Saturday after a 69-year-old man being treated for the virus died at Ernakulam Medical College Hospital, PTI reported.

The man, hailing from Ernakulam, was admitted to the isolation ward on 22 March after his return from Dubai, the government hospital said in a statement. He was admitted with symptoms of pneumonia but later tested positive for coronavirus, it added. He was also suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure and had undergone a bypass surgery earlier, the statement read.

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