Guj HC blames civic polls, people's carelessness for COVID-19 spike

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Ahmedabad, Mar 10 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court has said that the recently-concluded civic body polls and careless attitude of people led to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, and directed the government to take steps by 'anticipating the worst in the near future'.

In its order in a suo motu PIL on the issues related to coronavirus pandemic, the division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J B Pardiwala directed the government to keep sufficient number of beds available in all COVID- designated hospitals, increase testing, and ensure that rule of wearing a mask is strictly implemented.

'Just when things started looking a little better and conditions in major cities across Gujarat started improving, elections of the various civic bodies at different levels and the carefree attitude of the people has once again spoilt the show and has put us back into a situation of concern,' the court observed in an order dated February 26 that was made available on its website on Wednesday.

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi told the court that the state machinery is geared up to combat the situation as it fears that the situation may aggravate in the third round of spike.

The court directed the government to caution the people at large 'that their carefree attitude or negligence may force the state government to once again impose a lock- down.' 'Whether any restrictions as regard the number of invitees (in marriages and otehr functions) as earlier imposed should be continued or not, is also one important aspect which the government needs to keep in mind,' it said.

The court also raised concern on a media report that senior doctors in government hospitals are opting for voluntary retirement (VRS) as they are allegedly fed up primarily with a 'lethargic bureaucracy, mismanagement and red-tape'.

It said its concern is for the poor people who come to the government hospitals for treatment, and they should not be deprived of the essential medical services on account of shortage of equipment, medicines and lack of other infrastructure facilities 'If there are no adequate number of doctors, then it is only the people from the poor strata of society who would have to suffer,' it said, directing the government to file a reply and kept the matter for next hearing on April 9. PTI KA NP NP