Himachal Pradesh DGP Sita Ram Mardi on Monday said that any coronavirus patient who spits on another person will be booked for attempt to murder, in an apparent reaction to an incident in Kangra’s Dobha village, where a 63-year-old woman — the first person reported to have the virus in Himachal Pradesh — had spat on health workers while they were taking her to hospital.
“If any coronavirus patient spits on any other person, that patient will be booked for attempt to murder under section 307 of the IPC,” he said in a video message, adding that a murder charge will be slapped if this leads to death.
Police officials said the woman had spat on health workers who had shifted her from her house to the isolation ward of a hospital in Tanda. The woman, who has since recovered, was “forcibly” isolated on March 20 after testing positive. An FIR was registered against her under sections 188 and 270 of the IPC.
Doctors say droplets expelled into the air through coughing and sneezing transmit the respiratory infection, one reason why people are advised to maintain social distancing.
Countries like Britain have reported cases of deliberate spitting or a threat to do so by people who claim to be infected by coronavirus. In Ghaziabad recently, paramedics alleged that some Tablighi Jamaat members quarantined there were spitting and misbehaving with them.
64 Tablighis self-quarantine
Meanwhile, following the ultimatum issued by Himachal Pradesh police on Sunday, 64 members of the Tablighi Jamaat who had either gone to the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month or came in contact with those who went there, have gone into self-quarantine after reporting to police, DGP Mardi said.
Twelve of them had attended the Delhi gathering last month while 52 others had come in contact with the attendees, the DGP said. Around 400 Tablighi Jamaat members from the state have been quarantined so far.
On Sunday, the police had warned residents that anyone deliberately hiding his or her travel history to COVID-19 hotspots would be booked for attempt to murder.
Meanwhile, the police are trying to trace all contacts of a Tablighi Jamaat member who tested positive for the virus on Sunday. The train and other modes of transport which he used to travel from Delhi to his home in Kangra’s Gangath village have been identified, Mardi said.
He further said that the three other people staying at Nalagarh who tested positive on Saturday came from Delhi to Himachal in two HRTC buses which left Delhi at 4 pm and 9.30 pm on March 18. “Passengers who traveled in these buses are advised to go into self-quarantine and get tested if symptomatic,” he said.
Seven patients in state currently
At least seven people in the state are currently suffering from COVID-19, all of them members of Tablighi Jamaat, including three people from Amb, three from Nalagarh and one from Indora. They are admitted in IGMC Shimla and Dr RPGMC Tanda.
Two other patients passed away due to the disease, two people recovered, while four patients were shifted out of the state.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
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