GANDHINAGAR: Taking serious note of the COVID-19 scare, the Gujarat government plans to make spitting in public places, a common nuisance, a punishable offence to curb coronavirus.
Though there has been no coronavirus case in Gujarat, the state government is taking stringent measures to curb its spread.
"We are discussing ways to ban spitting in public places with the district collectors, municipal commissioners and municipality chief officers through video link. We are also discussing how to penalise spitting, which can be a cause of coronavirus spread," said Jayanti Ravi, Principal Secretary (health and family welfare department).
"Based on the Indian Epidemic Act, 1897, we have issued a notification on Friday, where we have authorised officials, like collectors in districts and municipal commissioners in urban areas, certain powers to take action regarding COVID-19. This is to stop cases like DAMA (Discharge against medical advise) happening," Ravi said.
The first casualty of COVID-19 in the country was, according to the government, due to the patient opting DAMA.
"Taking cognizance of the Gujarat High Court order on Friday, we are implementing the setting up of facilities at the HC campus. We have instructed government offices to postpone all avoidable functions, like conferences, seminars and workshops," Ravi said.
People had also been urged to do the same, the official added.
Since January 15, 288 flights and 29,560 passengers have been screened at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA), Ahmedabad. 3202 passengers those entered Gujarat have been screened for coronavirus infections.
The state health department suspected 77 cases of coronavirus and kept them quarantined. While 72 tested negative, reports of 5 is awaited. 1226 passengers have finished their 28-day observation period and they were certified healthy.
In the past two days, coronavirus has claimed two lives in India and till Saturday 83 people tested positive for it in the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pendemic.