Tamil Nadu

Stay over prepared to face third wave of COVID-19 than being under prepared, says Madras HC

The Madras High Court on Monday reminded the Centre and the State government of the necessity to be over prepared, rather than being under prepared and later rue for not having garnered additional resources, if a third wave of COVID-19 is also in the offing as experts suggest. The court said the object of the exercise to be carried out by the governments should be to prepare for the worst and hope that the worst does not hit us.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy made the observations in an interim order passed on a public interest litigation, taken up by the court suo motu, to monitor the fight against the pandemic. Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram informed the court of the Supreme Court having constituted a National Task Force to allot oxygen, COVID-19 vaccines and drugs to all States and union territories on an equitable basis.

After recording his submission, the judges wrote: “It is for the National Task Force to come up with plans and allocations. However, till such time that the National Task Force announces the allocations in consultation with local officials, it is the Union which is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the continuous supply of oxygen, vaccines and drugs to the States and Union Territories.”

Referring to the State government’s submission that it required augmented supply of oxygen and media reports of the local residents in Kerala not allowing oxygen to be transported to Tamil Nadu, the court said, “the State and the Centre should find ways of effective supply of oxygen to the western and southern districts, which were closer to Kerala, since supply from Sriperumbudur or elsewhere might be logistically difficult.”

On the State’s apprehension that its oxygen requirements might touch 800 tonnes a day in a fortnight if the COVID-19 patients on oxygen supported beds continue to increase, the first Division Bench said: “It is necessary to think of Plan B too.” Stating that Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had been establishing oxygen generators at short notice, the court insisted upon exploring that avenue too.

“Both Tamil Nadu and Puducherry seem to be crying out for the requisite supply of drugs and vaccines. Additional Solicitor General R. Sankaranarayanan has assured to take up the case of both the State and the Union Territory with the Centre, at least till such time that the National Task Force set up by the Supreme Court order gets down to the nitty-gritties of allocation and the like. It is necessary that immediate urgent measures be taken to augment the supply of oxygen in the State and of vaccines and drugs to both the State and the Union Territory,” the Bench concluded before deciding to hear the case once again on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 1:51:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/stay-over-prepared-to-face-third-wave-of-covid-19-than-being-under-prepared-says-madras-hc/article34531092.ece

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