‘A stitch in time saves nine’ quotes State High court while directing various steps to combat COVID

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Shimla, Dec 3
” A stitch in time saves nine,” quoted the State High court adding,” if at all the respondent state had kept this phrase in mind, the state would not have been facing so many cases of COVID-19 and consequential deaths arising therefrom,” quoted a double bench of Justice Tirlok Chauhan and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua. Taking suo- moto action over the callous , negligent and irresponsible behavior exhibited by  society  and government at-large resulting in sudden spike of Covid cases across the state the court directed the State Government to ensure that senior doctors are posted in such wards and take effective measures to increase the Covid testing.
The order passed today by division bench directed Government and health authority to take necessary step to tackle steep surge in COVID-19 cases in timely manner. The court said that State shall ensure that senior doctors in all the notified COVID hospitals visit the ward on regular basis in accordance with the instructions issued by the Government.
Court said that State should consider the feasibility of having liquid oxygen tankers stationed at all the notified COVID hospitals in the state. Further the court directed that the state health authority should ensure that temporary manpower is hired on outsource basis through authorized service providers as expeditiously as possible and in no event later than 5th December, 2020.
The State is directed to ramp up the testing by adopting the approved measures by associating private Labs or their technicians, or both. It should be mandatory for the sample collecting authority to obtain contact number, e-mail id, if any, apart from other details like age, address etc. at the time of taking samples, so that the result of the test can be communicated on e-mail, whatsapp etc. ”Such report be supplied in a time bound manner and in no event beyond 48 hours, bearing in mind the necessary protocols. Wide publicity be given in the news, print and social media regarding testing that are to be
conducted in walk-in kiosk in all the towns like Shimla, Mandi, Dharamshala, Kullu, Solan, Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur etc. for the collection of samples during the pre-fixed time everyday.
Adding, that the state may consider making covid test mandatory fo people entering the State those coming from outside. The court also suggested that government should consider flexi staggered office timings again. ” This will help in reducing over crowding  in buses,” the court added.
The court also instructed office bearers of PRIs and ULBs to ensure protocol and procedures including wearing of mask, social distancing etc are strictly adhered.
A  dedicated helpline in all the COVID Hospitals be notified so that the family members, near and dear ones of the COVID patients can get in touch with such patients to know about his/her well being etc. Such patients, who are willing to afford, be permitted to have trained nursing attendant at their own costs as this would be a long way to reduce the burden on the hospital staff, the court added.
The court said that state would ensure wrapping of the dead body(ies) of  COVID victims, , under no circumstances is/are carried out/done in the Ward and the body is removed immediately from the Ward after demise. Also order to keep the toilets in clean and hygienic condition round the clock and a dedicated helpline be provided to the patients.
Court also took strong notice of recent threatening by the employees of 108 Ambulance Service company leading to shortage of ambulatory services. The court said that if any employees resorts to strike or Dharna or In case, any one of them resort(s) to such mis-adventure, then in addition to any other action, authority should also ensure blacklisting the concerned firm,  terminating the services of such employees. Such employees and firms should be liable to be prosecuted and punished for contempt under the Contempt of Courts Act, for deliberately disobeying the directions of the Court.
Taking action over the keeping six ventilators equipped ambulances idle, Court asked the government to immediately put such ambulances in use.
Adequate provisions be made for diet, rest etc. for those who have been deputed in connection with COVID-19 duties and if found necessary, assistance of NGOs, Charitable Institutions may be taken.
Court also asked the state to submit the status report over the above directions on the next date of hearing listing the matter to Dec 10 for further hearing. The court also asked the state to also give status report of point wise response to the suggestions given by the learned Amicus Curiae.
The order was passed while hearing a suo-moto public interest litigation over the situation of Covid  cases and  directed state secretary health to file status report about the make-shift hospitals be on the next date of hearing.

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