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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.