The Delhi government on Wednesday asked officials to take “strict penal action” against landlords who have been forcing doctors and paramedics to vacate from residential colonies over fears of contracting the novel coronavirus, PTI reported.

In a notification, the government gave power to zonal deputy commissioners to take action and said such behaviour “not only strikes at the root of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic but also tantamount to obstruction of duty of essential services”.

The government invoked the Delhi Epidemics Diseases, Covid-19 Regulations, and said district magistrates, zonal deputy commissioners of municipal corporations and the deputy commissioner of police are “directed to take strict penal action against such landlords and house owners under the relevant provisions of law”.

The officials have also been asked to submit their Action Taken Report on a daily basis in the matter.

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The decision was taken after the Resident Doctors’ Association of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences sought the government’s intervention to take action against eviction of healthcare professionals by landlords. In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the doctors’ body said there had been several instances of doctors and nurses being evicted by house owners and asked Shah to order the police to help them out. “Many doctors are now stranded on the roads with all their luggage, nowhere to go, across the country,” the association said.

Shah asked Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava to take action on complaints received from healthcare professionals and to ensure their security.

On Tuesday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had condemned the ostracism of doctors and paramedics from residential colonies, adding that was “deeply anguished” by the news.

Crew members of Air India and IndiGo had also said many of their employees were facing a tough time in their respective hometowns for their “line of duty and travel history” amid the coronavirus outbreak. Both the airlines had sent their crew to bring back stranded Indians from coronavirus-hit countries like China, Italy and Iran.