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"UP Govt. Went Complacent Due To Weakening Of COVID Virus Impact By End Of 2020, Posterity Will Not Forgive Us If We Let People Die": Allahabad High Court

Akshita Saxena
27 April 2021 4:04 PM GMT
UP Govt. Went Complacent Due To Weakening Of COVID Virus Impact By End Of 2020, Posterity Will Not Forgive Us If We Let People Die: Allahabad High Court
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"Those who are resource full will survive and rest as histories of past pandemics tell us may die for want of proper healthcare"

"It is now an open secret that government had gone complacent due to weakening of virus impact by the end of 2020 in the state and the government got more involved in other activities including Panchayat elections. Had it been constantly vigilant, it would have prepared itself to face the onslaught of the pandemic in its second wave...Posterity would never forgive us if we remain oblivious to...

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"It is now an open secret that government had gone complacent due to weakening of virus impact by the end of 2020 in the state and the government got more involved in other activities including Panchayat elections. Had it been constantly vigilant, it would have prepared itself to face the onslaught of the pandemic in its second wave...Posterity would never forgive us if we remain oblivious to the real public health issues and let the people die for want of adequate health care," remarked the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday while taking stock of the chaotic situation in the state due to lack of medical and healthcare facilities.

A Division Bench comprising of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar asked the Government to shun the attitude of 'my way or no way' and to take welcome suggestions from all the quarters.

It has issued a slew of directions to the UP Government to ramp up the currently saturated public health infrastructure and has sought for a blue print in that regard by the next date of hearing on May 3.

"Today as the threat of the pandemic looms large and public health system is not able to cater the need of the people as per demand, so people have themselves put a lockdown to their normal activities. The roads and streets have gone deserted and commercial activities in major cities of the state of Uttar Pradesh have nearly come to a standstill.

City population is in complete grip of Corona virus… People are waiting in queues outside every hospital in search of a bed for survival but only a very few lucky ones are getting chance and even non-Covid patients and those who have become negative and are facing acute respiratory problem due to Covid involvement in lungs, are not getting beds," the Division Bench noted.

It stated that two things are required to be streamlined immediately: A) the management of public health infrastructure; and B) raising or enhancing the infrastructure to at least meet 1% of the city's population in every district of the state.

Accordingly, it has ordered:

Proper management of Doctors & medical

The High Court has noted that the management of the Doctors, medical and paramedical staff needs urgent attention since they are working day and night i.e. 24 x 7 and are even getting infected. It has ordered:

  • Effort should be to rotate the staff six hourly to give it the required rest.
  • Health workers be engaged on contract basis.
  • Such other staff including data feeders and computer operators should be employed as testing sample and their collections are to be carried out on a very large scale continuously so that a large number of the cities' population is at least tested for Covid and it gets its result in time.

Sustained growth by enhancing existing infrastructure

The Court was informed that the Government is coming up with new healthcare facilities. For instance, a 600 beds covid hospital which is under construction at Lucknow with the support of DRDO.

The Court observed that while building new structures is a time taking task, optimum use of existing building should be made. It has ordered for:

  • Setting up of makeshift wards upon the open space on the campuses of the hospitals
  • Government and district administration should study viability of setting up more and more Level-1 covid centres with all requisite facilities so that people voluntarily approach there.
  • Patients must be supplied with good quality food and potable water and paper napkins at every meal which should be served at least 4 times a day in all levels of covid hospitals and covid centres.
  • Sanitization of hospitals, its corridors and washrooms must be undertaken at least three times to four times a day
  • The hospitals that have been taken over or assigned as Covid health centres must be ensured to be well-equipped with all needed medical devices including BiPAP machine High Flow Cannula Mask and ventilators and that too all should be in sufficient numbers and constant oxygen supply must also be ensured to these hospitals.
  • The number of ambulances must be increased immediately and these ambulances that are requisitioned or purchased must be well equipped with life saving devices.

Set up quarantine wards

During the hearing, the Court was informed that due to lack of medical infrastructure, such patients who turn Antigen negative, are being forced to leave the hospital even though their SPO2 is 10 below 90.

To address this issue, the Court ordered:

  • Mere antigen negative report should not be a ground to throw a patient out of the hospital as such patients can still infect others.
  • Such patients needed to be shifted to non-Covid wards for at least a week and for this government needs to gear up to set up makeshift wards on the campus of the hospitals if there is a space so that there may not be problem of nursing staff and health workers.
  • Availability of oxygen is to be ensured in those wards also as SPO2 level still can be on a lower side.

Conduct health bulletins

To reduce panic amongst citizens and in order to ensure greater transparency, the High Court has ordered that all major government hospitals in the cities of Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur Nagar, Gorakhpur and Jhansi should have health bulletin system twice a day, apprising people of health updates of the patients.

It has ordered:

  • Hospitals may use large screens to give details of patients and their saturation levels.
  • This will definitely help in reducing the number of visitors every day to the hospitals and chances of spread of further infection.
  • The government is also directed to declare on its district portal of the above cities the occupied and vacant positions of beds in covid wards and ICUs of all government hospitals and covid assigned private hospitals and government is also directed to make wide publication of its district covid portals and sites in news papers and also through public announcement systems.

Case Title: In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres…

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