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'Put Your House In Order': Telangana High Court Seeks Strategy To Combat Third Wave Of COVID19; Appreciates Lockdown Implementation By Police

Akshita Saxena
18 May 2021 8:41 AM GMT
Put Your House In Order: Telangana High Court Seeks Strategy To Combat Third Wave Of COVID19; Appreciates Lockdown Implementation By Police
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The Telangana High Court on Monday asked the State Government to put its house in order and ensure that the directions issued by the Court with respect to Covid-19 issues in the State are complied with scrupulously. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy has also sought an affidavit giving detailed strategy that State has chalked out for dealing...

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The Telangana High Court on Monday asked the State Government to put its house in order and ensure that the directions issued by the Court with respect to Covid-19 issues in the State are complied with scrupulously.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy has also sought an affidavit giving detailed strategy that State has chalked out for dealing with 3rd wave of Covid-19 that is being predicted by health experts so that the Government is not caught Napping this time.

The Court has also issued notice to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which is responsible for fixing the ceiling prices of non-scheduled drugs, some of which are being used for treatment of Covid-19.

[The Court proposes to include Covid-related medicines in national essentials medicines list maintained by NPPA]

RT-PCR testing plunged

During the hearing, the Bench expressed displeasure on noticing that despite clear directions for enhancing Covid-testing to at least 1 lakh samples per day, the number had plunged to near 50,000.

"We may note that this court has been persistently harping about enhancing the number of tests, particularly through RTPCR and scaling up the testing to one lakh, but this seems to be falling on deaf ears. While the samples tested on 01.05,2021 were 76,330, the same have dwindled to 57,416 as on 14.05.2021…Testing must be ramped up to get the correct data of the spread of infection. It is but natural that the positivity rate will go down if the testing is reduced," the Bench observed.

Realtime data on Bed Availability not correct

It also noted that the bed availability shown by the Government on its real-time portal did not reflect reality and made no sense.

"The State is directed to make sure that the real time data furnished on its web portal is factually correct and the "available hospital beds" on the official web portal of the Health Department, is in sync with the ground reality. At present, it seems to be far off the mark," the Bench ordered.

Follow all directions and file compliance

The Division Bench noted that the State has not filed details regarding steps taken for:

  • Oxygen audit by a Nodal Officer appointed by the State Government;
  • Issuance of a rate chart for critical medical facilities to be implemented uniformly for all private hospitals in the State;
  • Establishment of 14 new laboratories by the middle of May 2021;
  • Creation of toll-free numbers for calling for a hearse with ease;
  • Maintenance of a display Board and uploading of information regarding the number of bodies cremated/buried on a daily basis;
  • Constitution of an Advisory Committee under Section l7 of the Disaster Management Act;
  • Creation of a network in collaboration with NGOs and other Institutions willing to contribute financially and/or with manpower to meet the needs of those living below poverty line, the destitute and the poor;
  • Shifting migrant labour into night shelters, wherever required; etc.

The State has been directed to respond to each of the said aspects in the next affidavit.

Police vigilantly enforced Lockdown

During the hearing, the Court was all praises for the Police department for the successful measures taken by it for enforcement of Lockdown guidelines and Covid appropriate behavior.

"This court places on record its satisfaction as to the manner in which the three Commissioners have scrupulously discharged their duties in their respective jurisdiction, as was directed. They are expected to continue enforcing the norms of COVID appropriate behaviour in public places and strict adherence to the lockdown," the order stated.

The Court has also cautioned the local police to take adequate measures during the relaxed hours of the lockdown, to make the public adhere to the norms of social distancing and COVID appropriate behaviour.

Further, the State is directed to take immediate steps to establish local markets and make available mobile vans for sale of groceries/vegetables and other daily essentials during the period of lockdown, so as to avoid crowding in big market areas.

Furthermore, State is directed to take immediate steps to direct civic authorities in each District to tie up with a local NGO/Institution for setting up community kitchens and providing free meals to the needy, particularly' during the lockdown period.

Other directions

  • State Government is directed to issue a fresh Government Order, revising the charges for routine ward, oxygen beds, ICU beds, ventilator beds, ambulance charges etc., in private hospitals/ Nursing Homes;
  • State Government is directed to take immediate measures to reconstitute a High Level Task Force for addressing public grievance during pandemic;
  • State is directed to see that those persons who are differently abled, are treated at par with persons suffering with comorbidities are given the same priority in vaccination;
  • State shall consider introducing Drive-in vaccination programmes in populous cities, to expedite the process and make it safe at the same time;
  • State shall ensure that adequate number of mobile testing vans are made available in rural areas where access to testing is difficult and people wanting to be tested are required to travel to far off places, in the absence of any public transport;
  • State shall give the details of the manner in which it is proposing to address the Mucormycosis infection and make adequate medication available to treat the same;
  • State Government shall ensure that the arrears of salaries/wages of the outsourced and contractual staff rendering health services in any Government hospital/Care Centre/Health Facility, are released at the earliest;
  • Director General of Prisons shall ensure that the jail staff and all those who are permitted entry into the jail premises/barracks are regularly tested for COVID-I9 infection as they could be carriers of the infection and in turn, infect the jail inmates;
  • Prison Hospitals shall regularly stock up necessary medicines and life saving drugs, oxygen cylinders etc., that may be required in an emergency for treating inmates infected with the COVID infection.

Also Happened: 'RTPCR Report Not Mandatory In Emergency Cases': Telangana High Court On Reports Of Pregnant Woman Dying Due To Denial Of Hospital Admission

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