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Behave responsibly with medical teams working to contain COVID-19 spread: SC

SC orders police to act against miscreants who misbehave with doctors, health workers

The citizens have to act in a responsible manner with doctors, medical workers and officials working to contain the novel coronavirus infection, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.

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The court ordered the police to take action against persons who obstruct and commit any offence against doctors, medical staff and other officials in the course of performing their duty,

In a 15-page order, a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan directed the police and authorities to provide protection to medical teams when they visit screening sites or at all places where patients diagnosed positive or who have been quarantined are housed.

Calling COVID-19 a “national calamity”, the court said “in wake of calamity of such nature all citizens of the country have to act in a responsible manner to extend helping hand to the government and medical staff to perform their duties to contain and combat the COVID-19”.

The court referred to how doctors, who had gone to screen residents in Indore on April 2, were pelted with stones. The order mentioned another such incident in Ghaziabad where medical workers came under attack from miscreants. The court said there has been other such incidents against health workers and doctors in other parts of the country too.

Terming doctors and health workers as ‘Corona warriors’, a Bench led by justice Ashok Bhushan said such attacks “instil a sense of insecurity in doctors and medical staff from whom it is expected by society that they are looking to the call of their duties will protect citizenry from disease of COVID-19”.

The court directed the government to explore alternatives, including enabling and augmenting domestic production of protective clothing and gear for medical professional. This include alternative modes of production of such clothing (masks, suits, caps, gloves, etc.) and permitting movement of raw material. The government may also restrict export of such materials to augment inventory and domestic stock, the court ordered.

The court made it clear that the onus is on the Centre and the States to ensure availability of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, including sterile medical/Nitrile gloves, starch apparels, medical masks, goggles, face shield, respirators (i.e. N-95 Respirator Mask or Triple Layer Medical Mask or equivalent), shoe covers, head covers and coveralls/gowns to doctors, nurses, ward boys and other medical and paramedical professionals actively attending to COVID-19 cases.

The order came on a bunch of petitions highlighting the need to provide medical professionals, exposed to infection in the line of duty, with ample protective gear. Some of the petitions alleged that medical teams have been attacked in the line of duty, and doctors and nurses were asked to vacate their homes by landlords.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 4:04:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covid-19-sc-highlights-need-to-protect-doctors-and-healthcare-workers/article31290328.ece

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