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[COVID-19] 'Situation In Meerut Is Highly Critical & Sensitive': Allahabad HC Seeks Status Report From District Collector [Read Order]

28 May 2020 12:39 PM GMT
[COVID-19] Situation In Meerut Is Highly Critical & Sensitive: Allahabad HC Seeks Status Report From District Collector [Read Order]
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In a letter petition raising alarm as to the "highly critical, grievous and sensitive" situation in Meerut district of UP due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the Allahabad High Court has asked the concerned District Collector to apprise the Court about the prevailing situation therein.

In a letter addressed to Chief Justice Govind Mathur, Advocates Namman Rajvanshi and Siddharth Jain had averred that Meerut had recorded the highest number of deaths due to Corona virus, as compared to the other cities such as Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow and Gautam Budh Nagar, that happen to be in the Red Zone. In fact, they pointed out that even recovery rate in the city was significantly low.

This, the Petitioners pointed out, is a result of inadequate measures being taken by the local authorities to restrain the spread of the virus.

The petition came to be listed before a Division Bench comprising of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Siddhartha Varma, which observed,

"taking into account the averments made in the present PIL petition, we deem it proper that the learned Chief Standing Counsel for the State shall seek necessary instructions from the District Magistrate, Meerut in the present matter by the next date fixed and shall apprise the Court about the prevailing situation in District Meerut."

The matter is now listed for consideration before the appropriate Bench on 9th June, 2020.

Citing various incidents of gross violation of lockdown and social distancing norms the Petitioners had submitted, "it can be prima facie inferred that the city administration has failed in implementing the guidelines and advisories issued by the Government and its instrumentalities in entirety."

They contended the city of Meerut and its administration has failed in combating and taking appropriate measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, which makes it necessary that a special mechanism be formulated under the direct monitoring and supervision of the Judiciary so that effective and quick measures and implementation of the guidelines can be made effective and operative in the District- Meerut.

The letter stated that the city is now at an advanced stage of spread of COVID-19 as various incidences have been reported of community transmission and the daily count of Positive COVID-19 patients is of more than 20 per. In fact, the situation is so critical that even police officials and the people detained in the police or judicial custody are also being diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.

Thus, the Petitioners asserted that Meerut requires special care and measures to prevent the further outbreak of COVID-19. They have proposed certain measures, based on various research and the trends followed by some countries, to prevent further spread of the virus. Inter alia, they proposed:

  • Allow 40% - 50% of private medical institutions and labs to operate for improving public health and treating non-Covid patients. (The applications to operate may be screened and decided online by a Committee or any agency so formulated for this purpose)
  • Medical institutions/ Quarantine Centres for Covid patients/suspects should be located away from the densely populated areas.
  • Regular updates regarding diagnosed corona patients, high risk areas, containment zones should be provided to all the hospitals whether private or government through online medium so that rapid action can be taken and due precautions can be observed by Medical institutions while dealing any patient who is from any containment or ultra-sensitive area.
  • Ensure that every medical institution which is allowed to operate is provided with minimum number of PPE kits.
  • Establish more testing labs in the city of Meerut to promote mass testing.
  • A dedicated "COVID Treatment Zone" may be established near Lala Lajpat Rai Medical College, Meerut on a temporary basis, as it has many medical institutions in the nearby vicinity.
  • Authorities must be cautious to prevent incidents of COVID-19 patients escaping from quarantine facilities.
  • Adequate security measures and surveillance appliances should be installed to provide a secure work environment to Health Care Workers. As per latest guidelines as issued by the government, Buddy system as recommended for HCW should be strictly adhered to and effective implementation of the same be done to boost confidence of HCW.
  • Digital and improvised measures including use of Aarogya Setu app on mass scale should be adopted to track progress of people in Home Quarantines.
  • Sanitization drives should be done on regular basis keeping in mind the gravity of outbreak of COVID-19 in Meerut.

Case Details:

Case No.: PIL No. 585/2020

Quorum: Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Siddhartha Varma

Appearance: Petitioners in person

Click Here To Download Order

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