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[COVID-19] Uttarakhand HC Directs Govt To Ensure Safety And Welfare Of All Health Workers In The State

Mehal Jain
18 April 2020 5:28 AM GMT
[COVID-19] Uttarakhand HC Directs Govt To Ensure Safety And Welfare Of All Health Workers In The State
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The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday directed all the District Magistrates of the state of Uttarakhand to look into the grievances of Health Care Workers in their respective Districts, besides requiring that the Medical Officers and the medical staff, if aggrieved, may raise their grievance before the State Government instead of approaching the Media.

The Division Bench was hearing a PIL by Advocate Sanpreet Singh Ajmani, espousing the public cause for the benefit of Health Care Workers involved in the ongoing fight against COVID 19 pandemic.
Moreover, all the District Magistrates are to ensure maintenance of law and order in their respective districts, besides the safety of Medical Officers, nurses and other medical staff, including drivers and attendants of the ambulances, by providing adequate police protection to them as and when they are asked to take into custody any suspected Corona affected person for treatment to the hospital or for quarantine purposes. 
All the District Magistrates have been directed to identify the sensitive areas where there is likelihood of any violent action being taken by the public against the frontline Corona warriors, including the police personnel and to take appropriate preventive measures to ensure that no harm is caused. 
The Court required the State Government also to ensure that all the Health Care Workers who are unable to visit their residences, be provided nutritious food, items of daily need, clean apparels and accommodation in close proximity of their work places where they are attending to and treating the Corona affected patients, if such facilities are not already being provided to them. 
Further, the District Magistrates of all 13 districts are required to make sure that PPEs are provided to the frontline Corona warriors, i.e., doctors, nurses and other medical staff while collecting samples and also during treatment of Corona affected persons, and that none of the medical officers, nurses or other medical staff avoid the use of PPEs. 
The implementation has also been ordered of the Guidelines issued by the World Health Organization under the heading "Corona virus disease (COVID 19) outbreak: rights, roles and responsibilities of "Health Care Workers', including key considerations for occupational safety and health". 
Further, the State Government has also been asked to secure the availability of essential commodities to residents of the areas which are declared as hot spots or where curfew has been imposed. 
Finally, the government shall organise awareness campaigns using mobile vans equipped with loudspeaker among the general public to make them aware of the outbreak of Corona pandemic and its rapid spread, more particularly in the sensitive areas. 
The High Court noted that the counsel appearing for the State has apprised that "only 28 Corona affected persons are in the State of Uttarakhand and in the past 10 days not even a single case of Corona affected person has been detected in the
State", and that adequate safety gears / equipments are available with the State Government. Moreover, none of the Corona affected patient is on ventilator at present and many a patients were cured by keeping them in quarantine and after providing proper medication which is being used for treating influenza, cough cold and fever. 
"So far as the Union of India is concerned, the petitioner has no grievance against it", recorded the bench.  As far as the State Government is concerned, "we have no hesitation in recording our appreciation towards the effectual steps taken by it in controlling the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic in the State by taking timely action", stated the High Court.
Directions Issued by The Court

i) Respondent no. 3 and all the District Magistrates shall ensure that PPEs are provided to the frontline Corona warriors, i.e., doctors, nurses and other medical staff while collecting samples and also during treatment of Corona affected persons.

ii) The State Government shall ensure that all the Health Care Workers, i.e., doctors, nurses and other medical staff, who are unable to visit their respective residences, shall be provided nutritious food, items of daily need, clean apparels and accommodation in close proximity of their work places where they are attending and treating the Corona affected patients, if such facilities are not already being provided to them.

iii) The District Magistrates of all 13 districts shall ensure that none of the medical officers, nurses and medical staff shall avoid the use of PPEs. The direction issued by the Government of India in its Circular dated 12th

iv) Respondent nos. 2 and 3 shall ensure the implementation of the Guidelines issued by the World Health Organization under the heading "Corona virus disease (COVID 19) outbreak: rights, roles and responsibilities of "Health Care Workers', including key considerations for occupational safety and health". April, 2020 shall be complied with strictly and any violation of said circular by any of the Medical Officers or medical staff shall be considered as act of indiscipline.

v) Respondent no. 3 and all the District Magistrates of the State of Uttarakhand shall look into the grievances of Health Care Workers in their respective Districts. However, the Medical Officers and the medical staff, if aggrieved, may raise their grievance before the State Government instead of approaching the Media.

vi) Respondent no. 3 and all the District Magistrates shall ensure maintenance of law and order in their respective districts. They shall ensure the safety of Medical Officers, nurses and other medical staff, including drivers and attendants of the ambulances, by providing adequate police protection to them as and when they are asked to take into custody any suspected Corona affected person for treatment to the hospital or for quarantine purposes.

vii) Respondent no. 3 and all the District Magistrates shall identify the sensitive areas where there is likelihood of any violent action being taken by the public against the frontline Corona warriors, including the police personnel and to take appropriate preventive measures to ensure that no harm is caused to the frontline Corona warriors / public safety.

viii) The State Government shall ensure availability of essential commodities to residents of the areas which are declared as hot spots or where curfew has been imposed.

ix) Respondent nos. 2 shall ensure the compliance of the directions issued to respondent no. 3 as well as 10 to all the District Magistrates of the State of Uttarakhand.

x) State Government shall organize awareness campaigns using mobile vans equipped with loudspeaker among the general public to make them aware of the outbreak of Corona pandemic and its rapid spread, more particularly in the sensitive areas. 

[Read Petition]


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