Ensure maximum COVID-19 testing in Tripura orphanages, jails: HC

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Agartala, May 18 (PTI) Two days after 36 minor girls in two orphanages tested positive for the coronavirus, the High Court of Tripura has directed the Tripura government to conduct maximum testing in state-run orphanages and jails.

While hearing a suo-motu case on the COVID-19 preparedness of the state, a division bench comprising Chief Justice A A Kureshi and Justice S Talapatra on Monday said, the state government needs to conduct maximum tests in those places.

Thirty-two children at the Jawaharlal Nehru Girls Home at Narsingarh tested positive for coronavirus while four cases were detected at Ujan Abhoynagar Childrens Home on Saturday, state Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath had said.

The state government on Monday submitted an affidavit detailing the available infrastructure in the state to tackle the COVID-19 situation, following which the court sought additional information about the orphanages and the jails.

The information should be tabled on the next date of hearing on May 24, the court said.

'The young children, who are housed in these orphanages, need special protection. The state administration should ensure maximum possible testing of these children, particularly because in recent times the number of positive cases reported in these orphanages is quite high,' the division bench observed.

While speaking about the jail inmates, the court said that the state which has restricted the movement of citizens, of course by the authority of law, has the onus to ensure that their health is not jeopardised on account of being kept confined.

'We are sure the state government shall take into account all the observations and directives of the committee specially constituted by the Supreme Court by its order dated 23rd March 2020,' the court said.

The High Court also said that the state administration should have a round-the-clock helpline so that relatives of COVID-19 patients can get all necessary information.

'In particular, the state may think of devising a system by which the availability of hospital beds with and without oxygen supply and ventilators is constantly made available in the public domain.

'This will help the relatives of the COVID-19 patients who require urgent hospitalisation and oxygen support to identify the proper place without loss of time, the division bench observed. PTI JOY MM MM

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