Amid the novel Coronavirus scare across India, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public distribution on Friday declared masks (2-ply and 3-ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and sanitizers as Essential Commodities temporarily.
Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public distribution: In view of #Coronavirus, masks (2-ply and 3-ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and sanitizers have been declared Essential Commodities temporarily.— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2020
According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website, at present, there are seven (7) commodities scheduled under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (EC Act) as essential.
(ii) seeds of cattle fodder; and
(iii) jute seeds;
(iv) cotton seed
The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 was enacted to ensure the easy availability of essential commodities to consumers and to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous traders.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India has risen to 81, including 16 Italians, said officials of the Health Ministry on Friday. These include 64 Indians, 16 Italians, a Canadian as well as one Indian national who died on Tuesday night, said Health Secretary Luv Agarwal.
The Maharashtra government on Friday ordered the closure of cinema theatres, gymnasiums, swimming pools, and public parks in cities of Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, and Pimpri-Chinchwad till March 30. The closure order will come into effect from Friday midnight.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, announcing that the government has invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 to tackle the virus outbreak. Schools and colleges in Pune and neighbouring twin industrial towns of Pimpri and Chinchwad will remain closed till further orders.