Prevention, Control and Management of Epidemics, Bio-terrorism and Disasters Bill, 2017 – DRAFT issued

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The Union health ministry has issued a draft Public Health (Prevention, Control and Management of epidemics, bio-terrorism and disasters) Bill, 2017 to provide for the prevention, control and management of epidemics, public health consequences of disasters, acts of bio terrorism or threats thereof and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

As per the draft Bill, if any state government or administration of Union Territory or any district or local authority is of the opinion that a public health emergency has arisen or is likely to arise, it may, by order require or empower any official of the district or local authority as the case may be, to take such measures and for such duration of time, to prevent, control and manage the public health emergency, as may be stated in such order; require any person or class of persons to observe such measures, for such duration of time, as may be stated in such order; prohibit any such activity as stated which is or is likely to be inimical to public health in any area under its jurisdiction; and quarantine or restrict the movement of any person or class of persons or any object or class of objects suspected to be exposed to any such disease or exposed to any substance as may be stated in the order.

The Bill further states that if any state government or administration of Union Territory or any district or local authority is of the opinion that a public health emergency has arisen or is likely to arise, it may, by order isolate any person or class of persons infected or suffering from any such disease as may be stated in the order; conduct medical examination including laboratory examination of, and provide treatment, vaccination or other prophylaxis to any person or class of persons exposed to or suffering from or suspected to be suffering from any such disease as may be stated in the order; and undertake deratting, disinfection, disinsection, decontamination, treatment, destruction or disposal of baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, postal parcels, human remains, animals, birds or biological substances to remove infection or contamination including vectors and reservoirs of infection.

As per the Bill, if any state government or administration of Union Territory or any district or local authority is of the opinion that a public health emergency has arisen or is likely to arise, it may, by order notwithstanding any other provisions in any other Act or Statute, ban or regulate the purchase, transport, distribution, sale, supply, storage, as appropriate, of any drug or of any other material which contains hazardous or toxic substance; provide for the inspection and, if required, detention of any shipment, cargo or objects being transported, as also of any vehicle , vessel, ship, aircraft, train, or any other form of transport, leaving, arriving at or passing through any place including any port, airport, bus station or railway station, ground crossing as the case may be, in any area; order detention of any person traveling or intending to travel or carrying or intending to carry any animal or plant or bio-hazardous material by any mode of transport as may be considered necessary; authorize any official or person to enter and inspect, without prior notice, any premises where public health emergency has either occurred or is likely to occur; direct any clinical establishment to admit, isolate and manage cases arising out of public health emergencies and to furnish any report or return in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed and to provide such services as directed; and disseminate such information as deemed appropriate and take such other appropriate measures in such circumstances including closure of markets, educational and other institutions and social distancing.

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