Delhi govt has taken adequate steps to handle COVID-19 cases, says HC

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New Delhi, Jul 27 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Monday said the AAP government has taken adequate steps like increasing the number of ambulances, augmenting the capacity of helplines, ramping up testing facilities and creating plasma banks to handle the COVID-19 cases in the national capital.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said that in view of the steps taken by the Delhi government it was not going to further monitor the PIL initiated by the high court to assess the preparedness of the authorities here to handle the rising COVID-19 cases now and during the coming days.

The bench directed the Delhi government to ensure that the official orders and directions issued by it and the court with regard to real time update of data of availability of beds and ventilators as also conducting tests be followed by the hospitals.

It also directed that the ambulance services, for COVID and non-COVID patients, and the helplines should continue to operate and the nodal officers appointed by the Delhi government in its hospitals should keep in mind the difficulties of the people.

With these observations and directions the court disposed of the PIL initiated by it, on the basis of a video clip of a man who had to run from pillar to post to get his mother hospitalised after she tested positive for coronavirus or COVID-19, and the another similar petition filed by a private individual.

The order was passed after perusing an affidavit filed by the Delhi government, represented by its standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal.

The affidavit said the government has almost doubled the number of ambulances, augmented its helpline capacity, ramped up testing numbers and also set up two plasma banks.

The affidavit said that more lines were added to its helpline numbers, the number of ambulances were increased to 602 from 334 earlier, the Delhi government procured more than 11 lakh rapid antigen test kits and has a buffer of 8.27 lakh test kits and its offering free of cost testing at all government hospitals and dispensaries.

Of the 602 ambulances, 273 are for COVID patients and 294 for non-COVID, the affidavit has said.

The Delhi government has also said it has capped the price of RT/PCR test at Rs 2,400, including taxes, rapid testing cost has been capped at Rs 450 and private labs have been asked to not refuse home collection of samples.

It also told the court that all hospitals have been directed to update data, regarding bed availability, on the Delhi corona mobile app and their website and nodal officers 'have been appointed to mitigate any difficulty faced by the public at large'.

It also told the bench that two plasma banks at -- Lok Nayak Hospital and Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences -- have been set up and people who have recovered from COVID-19 have been requested to donate plasma 28 days after their recovery.

It also told the bench that convalescent plasma (COPLA) therapy was being provided free of cost. PTI HMP SKV SA