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Covid-19: The Current Legal Challenges And Important Strategies Of World Health Organization Globall

The Novel Coronavirus, Covid-19 is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). It has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and is an unprecedented worldwide health crisis. The extent of the ramifications caused is still unclear, but it is evident that the world has come to a standstill. Quarantine and travel bans have been imposed globally. India too has subjected people to legally enforceable quarantine or self-quarantine.

It is in this context that mitigation and control of the outbreak of COVID-19 in India are thus of paramount importance not only to India but to the world. This article emphasis about the outbreak of the new pandemic disease ,its symptoms, survival, spreading of the disease. Further it enumerates the concept of self isolation, self-Quarantine and distancing. This article emphasis on the remedies under the common law, Quarantine and epidemic law and Social impact of Covid -19 etc.

Historically, India has adopted the common law remedies for quarantine enforcement, which has proved to be effective in times of epidemics and pandemics. One of the earliest precedents is found by the en banc decision of United States Supreme Court case Gibbons v. Ogden, wherein the powers of the state to enact quarantine laws and impose health regulations are justified in cases of health emergencies, dangerous diseases, and viral infections.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC), deals with offenses affecting the public health safety convenience, decency, and morals, which can be split into two major parts: one dealing with the public nuisance and the other dealing with the quarantine rule. The IPC law is further supplemented by the Epidemic Diseases Act. This law of 1897 was first enacted to tackle the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Mumbai in former British India and is frequently applied to the containment of epidemics like cholera, malaria, dengue fever, and swine flu.

The concept of quarantine provides for social distancing to contain the spread of the virus and undertake measures to ensure the maintenance of essential services and supplies. The current situation in India amid COVID-19 derives from the Sections 6(2)(1) and 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act for the quarantine law enforcement and protection of health.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally.

Symptoms Of Covid-19:

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment.

Around 1 out of every 5 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer , are at higher risk of developing serious illness. However anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill. Even people with very mild symptoms of COVID-19 can transmit the virus. People of all ages who experience fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Spreading Of Covid-19:

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are relatively heavy, do not travel far and quickly sink to the ground. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in these droplets from a person infected with the virus.

This is why it is important to stay at least 1 metre (3 feet) away from others. These droplets can land on objects and surfaces around the person such as tables, doorknobs and handrails. People can become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why it is important to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand rub. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways that COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.

COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing or has other symptoms such as fever or tiredness. Many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true in the early stages of the disease. It is possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has just a mild cough and does not feel ill. Some reports have indicated that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus. It is not yet known how often it happens. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the topic and will continue to share updated findings.

The Concept Of Self- Quarantine, Self- Isolation And Distancing:

Self-isolation is an important measure taken by those who have COVID-19 symptoms to avoid infecting others in the community, including family members. Self-isolation is when a person who is experiencing fever, cough or other COVID-19 symptoms stays at home and does not go to work, school or public places. This can be voluntarily or based on his/her health care provider's recommendation. However, if you live in an area with malaria or dengue fever it is important that you do not ignore symptoms of fever. Seek medical help. When you attend the health facility wear a mask if possible, keep at least 1 metre distant from other people and do not touch surfaces with your hands. If it is a child who is sick help the child stick to this advice.

To self-quarantine means to separate yourself from others because you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 even though you, yourself, do not have symptoms. During self-quarantine you monitor yourself for symptoms. The goal of the self-quarantine is to prevent transmission. Since people who become ill with COVID-19 can infect people immediately self-quarantine can prevent some infections from happening.

Quarantine means restricting activities or separating people who are not ill themselves but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal is to prevent spread of the disease at the time when people just develop symptoms. Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and may be infectious to prevent the spread of the disease. Physical distancing means being physically apart. WHO recommends keeping at least 1-metre (3 feet) distance from others. This is a general measure that everyone should take even if they are well with no known exposure to COVID-19.

Research indicates that children and adolescents are just as likely to become infected as any other age group and can spread the disease. Evidence to date suggests that children and young adults are less likely to get severe disease, but severe cases can still happen in these age groups. Children and adults should follow the same guidance on self-quarantine and self-isolation if there is a risk they have been exposed or are showing symptoms. It is particularly important that children avoid contact with older people and others who are at risk of more severe disease.

Treatment For Covid-19:

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicines against COVID-19. However, .people, particularly those with serious illness, may need to be hospitalized so that they can receive life-saving treatment for complications. Most patients recover thanks to such care. Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are currently under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to:
Clean your hands frequently and thoroughly
Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
Cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue. If a tissue is used, discard it immediately and wash your hands.
Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (3 feet) from others.
The time between exposure to COVID-19 and the moment when symptoms start is commonly around five to six days but can range from 1 – 14 days.

Connection Between Covid-19 And Animals:

COVID-19 is spread through human-to-human transmission. We already know a lot about other viruses in the coronavirus family and most of these types of viruses have an origin in animals. The COVID-19 virus (also called SARS-CoV-2) is a new virus in humans. The possible animal source of COVID-19 has not yet been confirmed but research is ongoing. WHO continues to monitor the latest research on this and other COVID-19 topics and will update, as new findings are available.

Several dogs and cats (domestic cats and a tiger) in contact with infected humans have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, ferrets appear to be susceptible to the infection. In experimental conditions, both cats and ferrets were able to transmit infection to other animals of the same species, but there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to human and play a role in spreading COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

It is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 and people who are at risk limit contact with companion and other animals. When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing after handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.

The most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that they can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard. As, always clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Remedies Under The Common Law

The quarantine law and its compliance by people and the state alike can hardly be contested. Courts have always tilted towards the State's power to enforce. In public health practice, “quarantine” refers to the separation of persons (or communities) who have been exposed to an infectious disease. “Isolation,” in contrast, applies to the separation of persons who are known to be infected. The relevance of the common law remedy in this context is a unique inquiry in contemporary parlance from the perspective of health care services, access to medicines, and therapeutic perception of medical delivery.

The provision of a public nuisance under Section 268 of the IPC envisages that a person is guilty of a public nuisance when he does an act which causes any common injury, obstruction, danger, or annoyance to the public. The punishment for public nuisance under Section 290 of the IPC is a fine of Rs200 (INR). It is important to note that Rs200 (INR) was exorbitant when the IPC was adopted one-hundred-sixty years ago. The continuance of public nuisance after the injunction is a case of continuing and subsisting nuisance. Under Section 291 of the IPC, this kind of nuisance is punishable with six months imprisonment, a fine or both.

The application of the IPC is eased by Section 133 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). However, the magistracy is neither dependent on police reports nor on other sources of information, but suo moto can take such evidence as he sees fit.

The Supreme Court of India, in Municipal Council Ratlam v. Vardichand, has given a teleological interpretation in the context of the public health safety, convenience, decency, and morals, logically linking Sections 188 and 268 of IPC with Section 133 of CrPC.

According to the Court, such a proposition is justified under Section 188 of the IPC: Besides these substantive provisions, the procedural rigors of Section 133 [CrPC] is more categorical, although it reads discretionary. The judicial discretion, when facts for its existence are present, has a mandatory import. The imperative tone of [133 CrCP] read with the punitive temper of Section 188 IPC makes the prohibitory act an obligatory duty.

The judgment illustrates the transformation of seemingly dull legislation into a robust mandate to protect citizens from epidemics and pandemics alike. It maintains that “decency and dignity are. non-negotiable facets of human rights and are the first charge on local self-governing bodies.” It is quite unfortunate to note that despite its vast potential, the judgment remains underutilized. The penultimate analysis of colonial law and its teleological interpretation seems highly relevant in the wake of the current lock-down scenario.

Quarantine And Epidemic Law Enforcement In India

The IPC was a visionary Code as such a law was not in existence in England at that time. One of the most pivotal segments of containment of public nuisance is the quarantine provision of IPC. Section 188, 269, 270, and 271 of IPC and Section 133 CrPC, assumes pivotal significance in the present scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down orders. The relevant provision relating to a negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life is Section 269 of the IPC:
 “Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act knowingly to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life shall be punished with imprisonment of six months and fine or both.

Section 270 further provides that any malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life shall be punished for the imprisonment of two years. Section 271 also provides that disobedience of quarantine rule is subject to six months imprisonment or a fine.

On March 11, the Cabinet Secretary of India enforced Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act in all states and union territories in India to control COVID-19. It empowers the state government to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic diseases. The Act confers power to the Central Government to take measures and prescribe regulations for the inspection of any ship and detention of a person intending to sail and arrive at any port. Section 3 of the Act prescribes imprisonment of 6 months or a fine, or both (similar to the IPC).

The officers acting in good faith to implement the law are protected from any suit or other legal proceeding under Section 4. This colonial law was historically applied in India to control cholera in Gujarat, malaria in Chandigarh, dengue fever in Delhi and swine flu in Pune. The application of the vintage law for containment of COVID-19 pandemic and control of the spread of the infectious disease is an interesting modern application.

Social Impact Of Covid-19

The State has a paramount duty for nutrition security, the standard of living, and improvement of public health under Article 47 of the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court in Municipal Council Ratlam V. Vardichand ruled that in the exercise of such power, the judiciary must be informed by the broader principle of access to justice. The Court relied on egalitarian values from Article 38 of the Constitution. Nevertheless, the courts have the right to intervene on the ground of reasonableness and procedural preparedness before enforcement by the State. This question was raised in Alakh Alok Srivastava v. Union of India, by way of public interest litigation.

The writ highlighted the plight of thousands of migrant laborers who, along with their families, were walking hundreds of kilometers from their workplace to their villages and towns in defiance of COVID-19 lock-down order. The jobless and migrant workers stranded without any means of transportation are nothing short of forced detainees in the midland. The police actions under Section 188 of the IPC are justifiable but resulted in abuses against people in need. The sealing of state borders has caused disrupted freedom of movement and halted the supply of essential goods.

Strategic Pattern In Relation To Great Sanskrit Epic Ramayana And World Health Organization:

When Ram was suddenly subjected to Vanavas for 14 years- the first thing he did was realizing that the occurrence of this situation was beyond his control and accepted it gracefully. We have only been given some days of Grihavaas, we can accept that cheerfully. After deep thinking about the current situation, he along with Sita & Laxman decided that they must dedicate these 14 years to develop their mental Faculties. We must use this time to develop our faculties & ink contributions as well.

If Bharath could manage to administer an entire kingdom without being in the city, then we can manage to do our work from home. Kaikeyi believed in rumours that seemed to be in her favor and caused total destruction. Be very careful in what you believe and share. Lakshman was completely vigilant and kept guard for 14 years, we can be vigilant for some days and prevent the Virus from entering our homes.

Sita was confined to Ashok Vatika for a whole year and was subjected to harsh mental torture but she kept her spirits up by thinking of the Lord. We can definitely do the same. Hanuman changed his size, his approach, his strategy continuously as the Situation demanded but ensured the Job was done.

We need to be innovative to make sure we complete our tasks and accept the changing circumstances. Shatrughna did the work of managing the family and executing the orders of Bharat without any credit seeking. There are so many Shatrughnas who are quietly serving the society in various ways, let us remember them and be grateful to them. Raavan had so much but he always craved for more and remained insecure.

Let us not hoard things because in this situation taking more than needed is actually like stealing from someone else. Even though surrounded by negativity from all sides, Vibheeshan managed to keep himself mentally engaged in Positive thinking. Let us also practice Social distancing from all the negativity around us. In this moment of Strife, there is so much we can learn from our beautiful Epics.

The COVID-19 outbreak in India is relatively new compared to other countries. Proper surveillance and transparent reporting of the characteristics of infected individuals must occur. When a large proportion of the world, including India, is in lock-down, the countries' economies are also hard hit. Without a vaccine immediately available to limit the spread, governments and international organizations must come up with a contingency plan.

The public health care system in India, with a few exceptions in some states, is abysmal. India spends just 3.6% of its GDP on public health, lower than some of its smaller neighbors like Nepal. India has only eight doctors per 10,000 people. The best strategy is to be prepared for multiple peaks. Even with the immediate quarantine orders, declaration of national disaster, and nation-wide lock-down, there is still an urgent need for an effective legal mechanism and contingency plan to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19.

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