Coronavirus is now a pandemic as well as an epidemic.
They sound the same, what’s the difference?
A pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world very quickly, affecting lots of people.
An epidemic is declared when there is an unusual, quick and sudden spread of one particular disease among people living in one area.
So, the difference is in the geography – if it stays in one place, it’s an epidemic and if it spreads all over the world, it’s a pandemic.
The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is that a pandemic spreads affecting people all over the world, and an epidemic spreads only in a limited area affecting people only of that limited area.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Corona Virus to be a pandemic (the WHO is an international organization that looks into health matters all over the world). This is because more than 4,600 people have died and more than 1,26,000 people have been infected by the virus globally.
In India, the first death Coronavirus has taken place in Karnataka.
Now, the government of Delhi has declared COVID-19 an epidemic and taken some strict actions to fight it. Theaters and schools have been shut and major events have been cancelled, including the IPL.
How can the State governments shut down places and stop all activities of the people?
They can. In times of emergencies they have the power to take all actions to ensure safety of the people. There is an Act (like a rule) called the The Epidemic Disease’s Act, 1897 which gives a lot of power to the officers of the State Government to prevent the spread of any epidemic disease.
The Act allows the officials to cancel all public gatherings, check any person at any time for their temperature and health condition, punish anyone who does not obey the instructions of the government and take any other steps as they wish to control a disease from spreading.
Why was this law made?
This law was made in the time of the British rule to control a disease called the Bubonic plague, which had spread in Bombay. More recently, it was used by the Government of Maharashtra in 2009 in Pune to control swine flu, the government of Chandigarh to control malaria and dengue, and by the government of Gujarat to control cholera.
What other actions has the government taken to control Coronavirus?
The Government of India has also cancelled existing visas till the 15th of April. Many Indians coming back form China, Japan , Germany , Italy and Iran will be kept in quarantine for 14 days. This is done to avoid the spread of Coronavirus by keeping a person coming from a foreign country separate so they can be checked by medical officials. This is done because Coronavirus is said to have reached India through people from foreign countries.
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