Tamil Nadu

HC calls for report on steps to tackle virus outbreaks

Litigant highlights threat of coronavirus

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the State government to file a report by April 24 on steps taken by it to check the spread of various viruses after it was brought to its notice that people were living in constant fear of the deadly coronavirus, which had its origin in China and is spreading to other southeast Asian countries.

Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued the direction on a public interest litigation petition filed by advocate A.P. Suryaprakasam, 66, last year seeking effective action against dengue.

On Tuesday, the litigant filed an additional affidavit in his case apprising the court of the new threat posed by coronavirus.

Expert committee

Though the petitioner sought for a direction to the government to constitute an expert committee comprising health, transport and civil supplies secretary to take steps such as quarantine of those affected by the virus, the judges told him that such effective steps appear to have been taken by the government already as per the reports published in newspapers.

They stopped short of directing the government to file an affidavit, in the nature of a white paper or roadmap, listing out the steps taken by it to address the health issues so that people gain confidence on the State machinery. The affidavit should contain details of the steps taken so far, their adequacy as well as the results achieved, the judges insisted.

The Bench further wanted to know whether the steps taken now were sufficient to tackle exigencies that may arise in the future.

In his additional affidavit, Mr. Suryaprakasam said the coronavirus was spreading fast in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Yet, people who come to Tamil Nadu from there were not being screened properly, he alleged.

Referring to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak which, according to him, killed 777 in 2003 and the influenza A (H1N1) that infected over two billion people in six months, the coronavirus now posed a similar threat to humanity, he said.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 11:58:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-calls-for-report-on-steps-to-tackle-virus-outbreaks/article30796117.ece

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