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Supreme Court asks Delhi govt. to explain dip in COVID-19 testing

The Supreme Court on June 12 asked the Delhi government to explain why its COVID-19 testing had dipped from 7,000 to 5,000 a day when other equally affected cities such as Chennai and Mumbai had increased their testing from 16,000 to 17,000.

“We ask the State to ensure nobody is denied testing on technical reasons. Simplify the procedure, so more and more can test. It is the duty of the State to conduct testing, so more people know their health status,” a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan told the Delhi government.

The hearing is based on the suo motu cognisance taken by the top court on treatment meted out to COVID-19 patients and the bodies of those who lost the battle with the disease. The court 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.

The court said media reports indicated increasing numbers of people being infected across India, especially in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

“The reports show horrific scenes from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in COVID-19 dedicated hospitals. The deplorable conditions of wards, the pathetic condition of patients... They are seen in wards with dead bodies in lobby and greeting areas. There is no oxygen or saline drip support. There is no one to attend the patients... The condition of a government hospital in Delhi with 200 beds is that only 17 beds are occupied... Patients are unable to get themselves admitted...” Justice Bhushan remarked.

“What pains the court is no proper care or treatment is given,” Justice Bhushan.

The court said it was not enough just to have a certain number of beds but States should also have enough manpower and infrastructure so that patients occupying the beds were properly taken care of.

The court said the situation was grim in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. It also called the manner in which the dead bodies of COVID-19 patients were being disposed of by hospitals in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as “deplorable”.

The court said there was no adherence to guidelines related to the disposal of bodies, no due care or concern was shown to the dead and relatives were not even informed for several days of the deaths of patients.

The court asked the States of Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and the LNJP Hospital in the national capital to file responses to these concerns. It listed the case for further hearing next week.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 5:27:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-asks-delhi-govt-to-explain-dip-in-covid-19-testing/article31812396.ece

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