In the wake of increasing incidents of violence against the healthcare professionals across the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday, March 11, directed all the states and Union Territories to provide ample police protection to doctors and medical staff treating COVID-19 patients.
"States/Union Territories are directed to provide the necessary police security to doctors and medical staff in hospitals and places where patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or patients suspected of COVID-19 or those quarantined are house," the MHA said in a letter addressed the Directors General of Police of all states.
The Home Ministry further implied that immediate action should be taken by the police administration to provide adequate security cover to doctors across the country. "It is requested that necessary action must be taken in compliance with the said order," it added.
Here is the copy of the order by the MHA:
MHA acts on Supreme Court's directive
The instructions by the MHA comes days after the Supreme Court vouched for the security of doctors. To ensure the well being of the frontline coronavirus warriors, the apex court on Wednesday directed the Centre to give security cover to the paramedical staff and also provide them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The court, while hearing a petition filed by a Mumbai-based medical practitioner Jerryl Banait, referred to the April 2 incident of Indore in which a team of doctors was attacked by locals.
"It is the duty of the State and the police administration to provide necessary security at all places where COVID-19 patients are being treated. Besides, police security should be provided to doctors and medical staff when they visit places for screening the people to find out the symptoms of the disease," the SC had said.
Spike in cases of violence against doctors
At a time when healthcare professionals are risking their lives to serve others, there has been an unfortunate rise in incidents of violence against them in various states. Recently, a female doctor in Surat was abused and physically assaulted by her neighbour in front of a mute crowd.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on several occasions has appealed to citizens to treat doctors and nurses with kindness. However, fearing that they might contract the novel coronavirus, several people have tried to pull away from the medical staff.