Uttar Pradesh government should give priority to public health over the upcoming elections in the State, the Allahabad High Court said on Tuesday taking a dim view of the State’s response to the surge in COVID-19 cases (In-Re Inhuman Condition at Quarantine Centres and for Providing Better Treatment to Corona Positive).
Night curfew, the Court said, will not be enough to combat the virus and the government should examine the viability of complete lock-down in those districts were spread has increased alarmingly, for at least two weeks or three weeks.
“Night curfew or Corona curfew is a very small step. What we need to ensure is that there is no unnecessary public movement even during day timings,” the order said.
All public gatherings must be restricted to fifty persons, the Court added.
Importantly, the Court also asked the government to look into the possibility of vaccinating students who are pursuing higher education and those appearing in Board examination of high school.
A Bench of Justice Siddharth and Justice Ajith Kumar proceeded to issue a slew of directions in this regard.
While issuing various directions to the state government, the court also warned the authorities that it shall make sure that everyone follows the Covid-19 protocol.
“We make it clear that if we are apprised on the next date fixed of any one moving on roads without mask, we shall take it as an act of contempt on the part of police and will certainly haul up the SSP, Prayagraj and other concerned districts for the same.”
The following directions have been issued by the court.
- Complete lock-down in hotspots: The court directed the government to look into the viability of complete lock-down in those districts were spread has increased alarmingly, for at least two weeks or three weeks and at least immediately all public gatherings must be restricted to 50 persons.
- Arrange man power: In view of the rising cases, the court directed the government officials to acquire open places in the city areas of districts that are worst hit in the state, to set up temporary level 1 hospital in a make shift structure.
“Arrange man power on contract basis immediately to serve all those who are admitted to temporary level 1 Covid hospitals/ centres. We also direct for immediate purchase and supply of bipap machine and high flow cannula mask in ambulance to all the district hospitals and level 2 and level 3 hospitals of the districts like Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi,Kanpur, Gorakhpur, were covid infection has got widely spread,” the order said.
- ‘TTT’ (Testing, Tracking and Treatment): The Court said that basic health needs includes the triple ‘T’, and for this the State has to ensure that people are tested before hand. District administration must ensure large-scale testing and all clinical samples that are collected must be sent to the laboratory at every six hourly interval so that RT-PCR test results comes within 18 to 24 hours.
“The containment zones must be updated every day to be notified and Rapid Force team be made vigilant and must be put to task. Proper sanitation of containment zones at every 48 hourly rest must be a rule. Certain medicines that may be useful in arresting spread of COVID-19 may be notified to be used by people themselves.”
- 4. Ensure the production of Remdesivir and other medicines: The court also directed the State government to ensure production of Remdesivir, an injectable anti-viral medicine by pharmaceuticals making them available easily the necessary ingredients and its supply in open market. District administration of every district in the State should take stern action against those who are hoarding it and black marketing it, the Court added
- Immunization programme: With regard to vaccination, the court said that it must be vigorously carried out and the Central Government and Indian Counsel for Medical Research must think about extending the benefit of vaccination to students pursuing higher education and those appearing in Board examination of high school and intermediate looking to the large scale infection in population of younger generation.
“If the Board and other examination conducting bodies are going for offline examination then government must explore viability to extend benefit of vaccination to such students as well,” the Court urged.
- Covid is not the only disease: The Court also noted that “we must not forget that people suffer from various other diseases and so they may need not only urgent medical help but incentive care admission as well.”
The Court further expressed its concern over how hospitals across Uttar Pradesh are over-flooded with patients.
“The surge has absolutely paralyzed public life and all the medical aid systems have reached to a stage of complete saturation. We have been informed that Covid hospitals are over-flooded with Covid patients and there is both manpower shortage and available facilities in hospitals. The situation is so alarming that if it is not handled carefully and cautiously we may lead to stage of complete collapse of public health system.”
The State government was directed to file affidavit of an officer not below the rank of Secretary before the Court. The District Magistrate and Chief Medical Officer, Prayagraj shall appear through video conferencing on the next date of hearing of the case which is April 19.