Taking suo moto cognizance of the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state, the Gujarat High Court on Monday, 12 April, rapped the state and the central government, asking why people were having to struggle for facilities like RT-PCR tests and availability of beds in hospitals, while “officers can get RT-PCR report within hours”.
Calling it a health emergency, the HC asked why the common man was having to stand in queues while the government was claiming availability of beds and oxygen facilities.
“When you (Advocate General) are saying that oxygen and beds are available, why do people have to stand in queues?” Gujarat Chief Justice Vikram Nath said, as quoted by ANI.
“It takes 4-5 days for a common man to get the report, whereas officers can get RT-PCR report within hours. Sample collection and testing should be faster. There is no RT-PCR testing centre in taluka and small villages,” he said.
The court also said that the state must find out why Remdesivir injections were being sold at such high price and if 27,000 Remdesivir injections were available for Gujarat, it must be found out how many were unused.
The Chief Justice also suggested ways to control rise in cases with measures like capping number of people at weddings at 50, booths at housing societies to check people's health, taking help of religious centres that can become COVID-19 care units and isolation facilities, etc.
Everything Under Control: Govt Tells HC
Representing the government, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi said that everything was under control and that the COVID-19 fight is now between the people and the virus.
“Everything is under control. The government is doing its job. Now, the people have to be more cautious,” Trivedi told the court, adding that imposing a lockdown was not a solution as it will affect wages of people and that people must impose a “self-lockdown”.
He further said that people must not rush for the Remdisivir injection.
Taking suo moto cognizance, the Gujarat HC had filed a fresh PIL regarding the situation on Sunday, 11 April, seeking a response from the state and the Central governments.
The High Court had recently advised the Gujarat government to impose a three-four day lockdown, and take appropriate measures to check COVID-19 cases.
"But it has been five days since. Newspapers and channels are flooded with harrowing tales, unfortunate and unimaginable difficulties, unmanageable conditions of infrastructure, the shortfall and deficit of not only testing facilities and beds, ICUs, supply of oxygen and basic medicines, like Remdesivir," Chief Justice Vikram Nath said in his order on Sunday, as quoted by IANS.
"A perusal of some news would indicate that the state is heading towards a health emergency of sorts. Accordingly, I direct the HC registry to register this as a suo moto fresh PIL titled: 'Uncontrolled upsurge and serious management issues in Covid control' by impleading the Gujarat government through the chief secretary, the principal secretary, health and family welfare department, and the central government through the Department of Home and the Health Ministry," he ordered.
He had also ordered for a copy of his order to be forwarded to Trivedi, government pleader Manisha Luv Kumar, and Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas.
In April so far, the state has added 39,797 cases at an average of 3,618 daily while in March, it had seen 37,809 cases, with an average of 1,220 per day.
(With inputs from ANI and IANS.)
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