Amid rising incidents of attacks on healthcare professionals, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday directed all state governments to provide necessary police security to doctors and other medical staff fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In view of reported incidents of harassment of Doctors and Medical Staff, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed all States/UTs and respective Police authorities to provide necessary Police Security to them in hospitals and at places where patients who have been diagnosed COVID-19 positive or where suspected cases are quarantined,” the MHA said in a statement.
“It has also been communicated to provide necessary police security to doctors and medical staff who visit places to conduct screening of people to find out symptoms of the disease,” it further said.
The MHA directive came a day after the Indian Medical Association wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding a central law to deal with such issues.
"The need to strengthen 23 state laws is becoming clear every day. IMA once again points out that a central legislation under item 1 and 2 of concurrent list i.e. IPC and CrPC are absolutely essential to deal with such situations. Kindly consider our plea,” the IMA had said in its letter.
There has been a spate of attack and abuse on frontline health workers ever since India imposed the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. These workers, mostly nurses and ASHAs, have been visiting villages to screen people and examine those in home quarantine and self-0isolation.
Reports of women health workers facing harassment are also pouring in from various states.