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'Delhi Govt. Did Not Take Steps To Prevent Covid Spread Despite Repeated Exhortations': CentreTells Supreme Court

Sanya Talwar
27 Nov 2020 2:47 PM GMT
Delhi Govt. Did Not Take Steps To Prevent Covid Spread Despite Repeated Exhortations: CentreTells Supreme Court
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In pursuance of directions by the Supreme Court to put on record an affidavit stipulating measures and implementation of Covid19 prevention to the Centre, it has been informed by the centre that 10 states contribute to over 70 per cent of the active case load of the country.These are Maharashtra (18.9%), Kerala (14.7%), Delhi (8.5%), West Bengal (5.7%), Karnataka (5.6%), Uttar Pradesh...

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In pursuance of directions by the Supreme Court to put on record an affidavit stipulating measures and implementation of Covid19 prevention to the Centre, it has been informed by the centre that 10 states contribute to over 70 per cent of the active case load of the country.

These are Maharashtra (18.9%), Kerala (14.7%), Delhi (8.5%), West Bengal (5.7%), Karnataka (5.6%), Uttar Pradesh (5.4%), Rajasthan (5.5%), Chhattisgarh (5.0%), Haryana (4.7%) and Andhra Pradesh (3.1%). 

As on November 24, the Centre has stated that proactive and graded response with a robust institutional mechanism has been initiated, aligned with a whole of government approach.

"India is now testing on an average, almost 1.1 million samples daily. This has been a remarkable increase from 6 thousand tests daily at the start of April. We are further trying to reduce the spread with the use of digital innovations such as Arogya Setu/ITIHAS to predict emerging hotspots and they are also aiding contact tracing efforts. Our efforts are also directed towards managing Covid, non-Covid health facilities should also be effectively managed – these include: immunization, maternal and child health services, cancer, dialysis, etc," the Union states.

The affidavit states that the Ministry of Home Affairs had intervened in the capital when the first wave of Coronavirus raged. "Action plans were devised and implemented but despite constant monitoring by the Ministry of Home Affairs about scrupulous compliance of the aforesaid directions by GNCT, various short-comings, going into the root of the matter, were noticed in the implementation of the aforesaid program," the centre states.

The affidavit goes on to highlight that after the shortcomings came to the fore on part of GNCT, the  shortcomings on their part were found such as ineffective preventive steps to contain the infection and non-enforcement of IEC measures well in time, considering the confluence of winter, festival season and pollution.

It is stated that despite repeated exhortations in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, the Delhi Government did not take steps to enhance testing capacity, particularly for RT-PCR, which remained static at around 20,000 RTPCR tests for a long time and containment measures as prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare including including house to house surveillance, contact tracing, quaranting and clinical management, were also not done properly, which has led to the spread of infection.

Moreover, the affidavit adds that Patients who were under home isolation were not properly traced and/or their contact were also not traced effectively.

The affidavit further states that in a survey of the 114 private hospitals in Delhi, which was carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) from 17.11.2020 to 18.11.2020, it was found that the observance of discharge policy and prescribed Clinical Management Protocol was very lax, thus leading to a large number of patients not being given the proper treatment.

Delhi Government has now been asked to strictly comply with the prescribed protocols in this regard, the Union states.

Today, when the matter was called for hearing, top court took suo motu cognisance of the fire which broke out at a COVID-19 designated hospital in Gujarat's Rajkot in the wee hours of the morning today.

The Court stated that the breaking of fires in Covid19 hospitals is repetitive and no legitimate measures were being taken by the authorities to mitigate and prevent these fires in hospitals. The court directed the Centre to bring on record the steps to prevent fires in hospitals by Tuesday next week and also directed the State of Gujarat to submit a report.

The bench also pointed out that even though the Covid wave was uncontrollable and was getting from bad to worse since March, no concrete steps were being taken either by the Centre or the States.

Court said that processions are being taken out and 80% people are not wearing masks. Rest have masks hanging on to their jaw.

"There are SOP's, there are guidelines but there is no will!," the bench said.

The Solicitor General told the court that there was a need to implement measures more stringently by State Governments. "Of course, this is not "Us Vs. Them", its Us Together. I must add, 10 states adding to 70 per cent of the rising Covid cases including Maharashtra, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh," the law officer added.

The directions were given in the suo moto case titled, "In Re: Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients and Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospitals, etc".


Click Here To Download Affidavit


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