HC asks Delhi govt to file status report on steps taken to control COVID spread

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], November 11 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi government to file a status report explaining the steps it has taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic observing a surge in the number of infections in the last two weeks.

During the hearing, a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad slammed the Delhi government on relaxing the norms for public gathering and transport instead of tightening them when COVID-19 infections was scaling new heights.

The number of mounting cases does not support the submission of Delhi Government that they are taking measures to control the situations, the bench noted.

The Delhi government told the court that it is taking measures to urgently control the situation and it has also ramped up testing.

The bench noted that on November 10, approximately 8,593 COVID-19 cases were reported, and said the infections has become rapid and "no household has been left untouched."

The court remarked that the bench has thought the Delhi government would have taken immediate corrective steps and planned a strategy to contain the infections, but contrary to that, it has relaxed the norms.

"It has been noticed that Delhi Government has relaxing the norms of the movement by the public even in such a situation. It is apparent from the fact that as against capping of 100 people in ceremonies, the number of guest have been increased to 200. Similarly, as against permission to occupied alternate seats in public transports, Delhi Government has now permitted public transports to be fully occupied," the bench said.

The court also mentioned photos being shared on social media highlighting crowds in the streets of the national capital. The bench said that during this festive season, the public is out in uncontrollable numbers which would have become super spreader of infections.

Noting the claim of the Delhi government that the mask should be treated as vaccine till there is some vaccine introduce to contain the infections, the court pointed out silence on introducing any legislation for enforcing of the compulsory wearing of masks in public places.

The bench asked what concrete step has the Delhi government taken in light of the alarming COVID-19 infections including managing crowds and adequate arrangements for shifting infected people in care homes.

The court noted that petitioner Rakesh Malhotra has been infected with the virus and was present in the virtual court hearing. It observed that Malhotra has to struggle to get admission in nearby private hospitals and nursing homes.

Malhotra, who has managed to get a nursing home due to his critical condition as he is on oxygen support, also shared his grievances with the court that he has failed to get admission in nearby hospitals.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Malhotra seeking directions to conduct large-scale rapid testing in the national capital for identifying the infected people. (ANI)