Lack of authentic info; create awareness on COVID-19 symptoms, treatment via videos, graphics: HC

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New Delhi, May 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Tuesday said there is complete lack of authentic information and asked the ICMR to create awareness among the public by releasing videos and graphics on COVID-19 symptoms, treatment, protocol and equipments.

The high court said people are not aware of COVID-19 symptoms and how to use the equipments like oxygen cylinders and concentrators as people are using it in closed rooms.

“On these aspects ICMR should step in. You should make video clips, graphics and circulate it on national media and WhatsApp groups. People will know what to believe and who not,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said.

Central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, representing Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), urged the bench to put these issues in its order and he will take instructions.

The high court said ICMR needs to educate people what are the tests to be done after COVID-19 as after 7-8 days people are getting complications.

While Justice Sanghi shared that one of his court staff lost his wife as she was unwell and did not get the COVID-19 test done and even did not take the required medication as nobody adviced them.

Justice Palli also shared a similar incident which happened in her family where her cousin lost her husband.

“That’s why ICMR has to advice… You have to come up with a protocol on COVID-19 treatment. We have asked the state to come up with a portal with doctors who want to offer voluntary services. You need to share the protocol with doctors on how to proceed and this needs to be published properly,” it said.

Ahluwalia said now medical students have been roped in and are being given duties as per their year of course as there is dearth of doctors.

Meanwhile, the Centre suggested that Delhi government shall rope in mohalla clinics during the pandemic.

Regarding this, Delhi government’s counsel said he will apprise the court in detail as to how mohalla clinics work and they have limited space with no waiting area and social distancing norms can’t be ensured.

The court said, “if you have made this infrastructure, what worth is it for if it can’t be used for any purpose during the pandemic... COVID is not an affluent society ailment. It can happen to people who go there.” During the hearing, the amicus curiae said people of the city have been told not to sit over oxygen cylinders but such appeals rarely get reported in the media and everything irrelevant gets picked up and that media has to be responsible.

To this, the bench said is there any appeal made from any political party and why leaders are not coming forward and making this appeal.

Delhi government submitted that such an appeal would be made now.

The court has been hearing various pleas relating to shortage of oxygen and other issues relating to COVID-19.

The high court, on its own, revived a disposed of petition filed by advocate Rakesh Malhotra related to COVID-19 testings and infrastructure, noting that the virus has raised its “ugly head” once again and the pandemic is raging with much greater intensity and 'it is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse'. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS