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Govt declares COVID-19 a ‘notified disaster.’ Here’s what it means

As number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in India rose to 84, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to treat COVID-19 as a ‘notified disaster’

New Delhi: As the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in India rose to 84, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to treat COVID-19 as a “notified disaster,” an official release said on Saturday. The move would allow the Centre to spend a large chunk of funds from the SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) to fight the pandemic.

How will the ‘notified disaster’ status help COVID-19 patients?

The government said that the cost of hospitalisation for managing COVID-19 patients would be at rates fixed by the state governments. The state governments will have access to SDRF for providing temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care for people affected and sheltered in quarantine camps, other than home quarantine, or for cluster containment operations. The number of quarantine camps, their duration and the number of persons in such camps will be decided by the state executive committee. “Period can be extended by the committee beyond the prescribed limit subject to the condition that expenditure on this account should not exceed 25 percent of SDRF allocation for the year,” the Ministry of Home Affairs notification stated. The cost of consumables for sample collection would be taken from funds which can be used to support checking, screening and contact tracing.

Funds can also be used for setting up test labs

The funds can also be used for setting up additional testing laboratories within the government setup. The state will also bear the cost of personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities. States will be able to utilise SDRF money for procuring thermal scanners and ventilation and other necessary equipment.

The backdrop

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India has gone up to 84 on Saturday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said. So far, two deaths have been reported in the country because of the infection. The Coronavirus, which originated in China’s Wuhan city in December last year, has spread to more than 100 countries, infecting over 1,20,000 people. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus a pandemic and has named Europe as its epicentre. Europe has recorded more cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.