Indian SC asks for filing status reports following worsening Covid-19 situation

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NEW DELHI, Nov 23, 2020 (BSS) – Following resurgence of Covid-19 wave this month, the Supreme Court of India on Monday asked the centre and all states to file status reports on the current situation by two days detailing the steps taken by the authorities to deal with the situation.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan while expressing concern over the surge of Covid-19 cases and increase of mortality rates in various states including Delhi has asked for taking preparation for the “worst December”.

The bench was hearing a suo-moto petition on the management of medical care given to Covid-19 patients and the manner of treating bodies, after certain news reports showed bodies lying unattended in the hospital, according to media reports.

The apex court of the country, however, asked the centre and the states to make all out efforts in mitigating the situation and to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases. It also asked for constituting expert committees and install CCTVs in all Covid wards.

Mentioning that there is a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country especially in Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat, the bench observed that the situation is likely to grow grim in the coming months. “All states must be prepared for the coming months to tackle the situation,” the court observed.

The Court also rapped the Gujarat government and wondered how it was allowing political celebrations, weddings at a time when the number of cases are on the rise, the Hindustan Times reported.

The court had also issued directives in regard to the patient care and said, “All Covid-dedicated hospitals shall permit one willing attendant of the patient in the hospital premise, who can remain in an area earmarked by the hospital.

According to union health ministry data, the coronavirus tally in India crossed the 91 lakh mark in the last 24 hours with 44,059 fresh cases and 511 people died of Covid-19 in this period taking the overall disease-related death count to 1,33,738.

India’s positivity rate rose to 5.1 per cent during the last 24 hours against 8.5 lakh samples tested in a day. The cumulative positivity rate is 6.89 per cent.

Besides, Delhi, Kerala and Maharashtra continued to report the largest number of day-on-day COVID-19 cases in India.

The national capital Delhi saw 6,746 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, followed by Maharashtra and Kerala with about 5,200 to 5,700 cases respectively. West Bengal logged almost 3,600 cases followed by Rajasthan with 3,260.

Many smaller states, including Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar, Pradesh Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipur, have seen a spike in the number of daily cases with the Centre rushing expert teams to tackle the spread of the disease in winter, media reports said.

Some of these states have also imposed night curfews, rescheduled reopening schools and increased fine for not wearing masks and social distancing, reports added.

Besides, two big evening markets in Delhi, India’s worst-hit state, were closed after it was found that wearing masks and social distancing were not being followed there.

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said a locally-developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate – COVAXIN – could complete its final trials in a month or two, raising hopes for a rapid roll-out in the country with the world’s second-highest number of infections.

The minister said the government’s plan was to immunise 200 million to 250 million Indians by July.

The other experimental vaccines on trial in India are the one being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, Russia’s Sputnik-V, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D and lastly one that Biological E Ltd.