12 May 2021 5:29 AM GMT
The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday asked the Central Government to come out with a plan for inoculation of physically challenged persons, who cannot visit the vaccination centres, against the Covid-19 virus. A Division Bench comprising of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar has also asked the Centre and the State to devise a plan for vaccination of such persons under the age group...
The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday asked the Central Government to come out with a plan for inoculation of physically challenged persons, who cannot visit the vaccination centres, against the Covid-19 virus.
A Division Bench comprising of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar has also asked the Centre and the State to devise a plan for vaccination of such persons under the age group of 18-45 years, who cannot possibly register themselves for vaccination on the COWIN App.
"We direct the Central Government to place before us as to how it proposes to inoculate those physically challenged persons who cannot be brought to the vaccination centres and then those who cannot make online registration…
We may further observe that a large number of our population still resides in villages and there are people who are only labours between the age group of 18 and 45 and cannot themselves register online for vaccination. The Central Government and State Government are directed to place before this Court the programme by which they would vaccinate those illiterate labours and other villagers between the age group of 18 and 45 years if they are not able to register online for vaccination," the order stated.
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During the hearing, the State Government had expressed its inability to adopt special guidelines for vaccination of physically disabled persons as it is following the Central Government guidelines which does not provide for the same.
Seemingly unconvinced, the Court has now asked the State Government to explain as to what is the difficulty with it if it opts to a guideline to inoculate physically challenged persons even in the absence of the Central Government guidelines, on the next date fixed.
On the issue of vaccine procurement, the Bench stated that purchase of vaccine shouldbe done at a "war footing" given the recent surge in Covid positive cases which is now also engulfing the remote rural areas.
"We hope and trust that the State Government would try to purchase as many vials of desired vaccine as possible to vaccinate maximum number and at least more than 2/3 of the population in 2-3 months' time," it said.
Public Grievance Cell
The High Court has also directed the UP Government to open, within 48 hours, a "Public Grievance Cell" in every district so that (i) people can directly approach and get their complaints regarding Covid management registered and examined; and (ii) viralled news regarding Covid management may be looked into.
The said Grievance Committees shall include:
In rural areas, the Bench said, complaints may be made directly to SDM of concerned Tehsil who shall transmit the same to Pandemic Public Grievance Committee.
Covid management in rural areas
In its order, the Division Bench noted that the Covid-19 pandemic is now also engulfing in it the remote rural areas, smaller cities and towns where health infrastructure may not be robust.
It also noted that even though directives may have been issued by the Government for providing life-saving gadgets to the health centres in these areas, little is known as to how many of such devices have really been installed.
"Such details are required to be known because in rural areas by and large the facilities are not available and the villagers are dying of Covid for want of proper care. Similar is the situation in the smaller cities," the Bench said.
It has accordingly directed that in respect of the districts of Bahraich, Barabanki, Bijnor, Jaunpur and Shravasti, following details of City and Rural areas shall be submitted:
Computation of Covid deaths to include persons who showed symptoms but could not be tested in time
The Division Bench has opined that in these days of Covid surge, if a person is admitted to the hospital with ILI (Influenza like infection) and where only antigen testing has taken place or in the event RTPCR is delayed and in the meanwhile patient dies and if such deceased persons had no history of having cardiac or kidney problem then, presumption should be raised that such death was caused by Covid infection only for the limited purpose of maintaining records and also following Covid protocol for the disposal of dead body.
"Government officials and the hospitals cannot be permitted to shirk away from their responsibility in ensuring that dead body of such deceased persons is disposed of strictly as per the Covid Protocol. Nobody is admitted to a hospital unless he has landed himself in a condition where the SPO2 level has gone down i.e. below 94 and, therefore, to take such deaths as non- Covid deaths would be a blunder," the Bench remarked.
The direction comes after the Principal of Medical College, Meerut informed the Court that prior to the date of death, 20 persons who allegedly died due to lack of Oxygen, were admitted to the hospital and while three of them were having Covid positive report, the others had been put to antigen test which turned out to be negative.
He stated that such deaths cannot be attributed to the Covid infection as those were only suspected cases.
Unable to accept this explanation, the Bench observed,
"If no True Natt is there and if antigen turned out negative of a patient, such patient's case is taken as suspected one only and so no Covid protocol is followed and if he dies, his dead body is handed over to the members of family of the deceased without Covid protocol. It is quite a serious issue.
Even if it is the case of suspected death of Covid patients for antigen testing, we are of the view that all such cases of death should be taken as Covid deaths and no hospital can be permitted to hold these cases as non- Covid cases so as to reduce number of Covid deaths in that particular hospital."
Food provided to Covid patients at Hospitals
The Bench had sought details regarding food supplied to the hospitals of Level-1, Level-2 and Level-3 category. It was informed that Rs.100 is allocated per patient in Level-1 category hospital.
Taking exception to such meagre allocation, the Division Bench observed that proper nutritious food must be given to all Covid-19 patients without any exception.
"It is well known fact that the Covid patient needs highly nutritious food that should include fruits and milk in his daily diet and we fail to understand as to how with Rs.100 per capita budget the Government is managing three times meal in Level-1 category hospital with 2100 required calories. No details have been given regarding Level-2 and Level-3 hospitals. We want food details with calories count of each item in respect of the hospitals of all the category," the order stated.
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