The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a status report from the Himachal Pradesh government regarding the treatment of Covid-19 patients in different hospitals, infrastructure and facilities available therein.
A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah issued notice to the Himachal Pradesh government and asked it to file a status report after an advocate apprised it that there are several issues like lack of oxygen, lack of beds in the state.
The bench, while taking note that guidelines with regard to wearing of masks and keeping social distancing are not being followed in almost all of the states, asked the Centre and states to file suggestions in this regard so that it can issue appropriate directions to implement the guidelines and to ensure the compliance.
“It has been pointed out that guidelines with regard to wearing of masks and keeping social distancing are not being followed in almost all of the states. It is submitted that even though there are stringent regulations including imposing of fine on non-wearing of masks, yet desired results have not been achieved,” the bench noted in its order.
“It has also been submitted that there has been large public gathering including political, religious, ceremonial where the social distancing is given a go-bye and there are no appropriate mechanisms to check such social gatherings,” it added.
The order said that the Solicitor General and other counsel appearing for different states have requested time to give appropriate suggestions so that appropriate directions may be issued by the court to implement the guidelines and to ensure the compliance.
“The suggestions may be given by December 7, 2020,” it said.
The bench was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the management of Covid-19 crisis and mishandling of dead bodies.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on December 9.
During the hearing, the bench remarked that “many vegetable markets where social distancing is required but is not being followed, look into this from that angle – the issues of super spreader start from here. These are the most vulnerable spots.”
Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan appearing for Delhi government contended that ICU beds now stand at 5,010.
Vishwanathan told the court that tests have gone up in Delhi.
“Cases are going down. Being monitored at highest. We don’t want to be adversarial,” Vishwanathan said.
After an advocate said prices for Covid-19 tests and treatment need to be regulated in the Assam, the bench said that under Article 32 it cannot regulate how much a hospital in the state charges.
Later, the bench asked the Assam government to see into whether the issue of Covid-19 treatment charges can be looked into and what can be done about preventive measures to be taken during political rallies.
The counsel also pointed out that Assam will see elections in the coming year and mechanisms need to be put in place in light of pandemic. The bench said it will pass an order in this regard.