New Delhi: Against the backdrop of attacks on healthcare personnel fighting coronavirus, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance making acts of violence against them as cognisable and non-bailable offences, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said.

He said the proposed ordinance also provides for compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to property. There will be stringent punishment including fines up to Rs 2 lakh. If serious cases, the punishment will be imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh, he added.

The proposed ordinance will amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

It will help protect healthcare service personnel and their living and working premises against violence.

Asked whether the new changes in the law will be applicable even after the threat of COVID-19 is over, Javadekar told reporters that the ordinance has been approved to amend the Epidemic Act.

"But it is a good beginning," he said, without elaborating.