In a bid to control the spreading of the novel coronavirus, the Andhra Pradesh government has stated that foreign returnees who do not self isolate themselves would be liable to legal charges. Making the announcement, Guntur District Collector Samuel Anand Kumar (IAS) stated that criminal cases would be filed under IPC Section 188 against those who do not follow the procedure of isolating themselves for two weeks post their return from foreign countries. Krishna District Collector A Imtiaz (IAS) too, stated that foreign returnees in AP who don’t follow the rules will be placed under house arrest, even if they exhibit no symptoms of coronavirus.
People booked under Section 188 – both Indian nationals and foreigners will find themselves struggling to renew their passports and procuring visas for future trips abroad.
Asha Workers, Anganwadi staff, sanitation, and ward secretaries have been deployed to conduct door-to-door surveys to identify the people who returned from foreign countries. The deployed staff is responsible to inspect if the returnees are in self-isolation at their residences. Additional Chief Secretary (CMO), Dr. PV Ramesh stated that over 13.4 million people have been surveyed to date and 7,500 foreign returnees were identified post-February 10. All of them have been advised to complete the 14-day self-isolation period, said the officer.
As per the Medical and Health Department, a total of 580 foreign returnees have been kept under home isolation, while 22 of them are under observation in various hospitals in the state. The official statement said that 250 people have completed their observation period. 90 of the 100 blood samples tested were negative, and one was positive. The State Government recently enforced Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, to curb the deadly virus from spreading further. AP currently reports one positive case of coronavirus in Nellore.