Coronavirus | Supreme Court says situation has worsened, asks Centre and States to file status reports

A healthcare worker takes a swab sample of a woman to test for COVID-19 at Teen Darwazaa Deepavali shopping market in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on November 11, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

The Supreme Court on Monday said the daily hike in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Assam looks ‘grim’ and they should ‘take time to introspect’ and ‘prepare for December’.


“Situation of COVID cases is worsening and likely to do so in December,” a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan noted.

The court asked the States to file status reports in two days on preparedness and steps taken by them.

“Things have worsened in the last two weeks, in November.. Our question is what is your present situation? What more steps are you taking? That is what we are going to look into,” Justice Bhushan addressed Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, for Delhi.

Gujarat pulled up

The court hauled up the Gujarat government for unbridled celebrations, weddings and public gatherings in the State despite an exponential rise in cases.

“Gujarat is worst after Delhi and Maharashtra. What is your policy? What is happening? Weddings, parties, celebrations by political parties are happening... What is all this,” Justice M.R. Shah asked the Gujarat side.

Justice R. Subhash Reddy noted that “there is a huge spike in cases”.

“This is the time to introspect and prepare for December,” Justice Reddy observed orally.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta expressed his anguish at the situation as a human being. He said it was painful for him to witness the court passing orders on the handling of the COVID-19 dead. He said his comments were made in the name of humanity.

The hearing is based on the suo motu cognisance taken by the Supreme Court on the treatment meted out to COVID-19 patients and the bodies of those who lost the battle with the virus. The court had, in June, referred to several media reports on the lack of infrastructure, patients and their families running from pillar to post to get themselves admitted and, ultimately, videos of COVID-19 dead being thrown into pits.

Mr. Mehta said the Union Home Minister was monitoring the situation.

Mr. Jain said there has been an “upsurge” in the request for ICU beds for patients in private hospitals in Delhi.

He said the government had passed notifications to reserve 80% ICU beds for COVID-19 cases in 115 private hospitals in Delhi. He said this was done keeping in mind the flood of patients coming from neighbouring States. The court asked him to provide the details in the status report. Mr. Jain said arrangements had been made to have 380 cremations a day in crematoriums attached to specific hospitals area-wise.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 11:54:47 AM |

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