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Representational Image
AFP

After declaring coronavirus a 'notified disaster', the Centre on Saturday said grants earmarked under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) can be utilised to procure essential equipment and take measures to quarantine people in order to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Stepping up its counter-measures against the pandemic, the Union Home Ministry has issued a two-page directive to all states, specifying list of items eligible for SDRF and norms of assistance. A state executive committee (SEC) will regulate the utilisation of funds in this context from the SDRF, which is funded by the Union Home Ministry.

As part of the first head defined under 'measures for quarantine, sample collection and screening', the latest sanction will include provisions for temporary accommodation, food, clothing, medical care for people affected by the virus and sheltered in quarantine camps.

The state executive committee will decide the number of quarantine camps, their duration and the number of persons in such camps. “Period can be extended by the committee beyond the prescribed limit subject to condition that expenditure on this account should not exceed 25 percent of SDRF allocation for the year,” the Ministry of Home Affairs notification stated.

Funds can also be withdrawn for setting up additional testing laboratories within the government set up.

As part of the second authorisation meant for procurement of essential items, the directive said that funds can also be withdrawn for setting up additional testing laboratories within the government set up as also for consumables.

Personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities can also be bought on SDRF funds.

Earlier, the Union Home Ministry had said Rs 4 lakh will be given to the family of deceased persons, but later revised it.

The number of coronavirus patients in the country has risen to 84 which includes two deaths in Delhi and Karnataka, the Union Health Ministry said.

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