HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Monday directed the state government to furnish details of its strategy to deal with the third wave of Covid-19 infection that is being predicted by experts, during which children will be the most vulnerable. This time, the government should not be caught napping, Chief Justice Hima Kohli cautioned.
The court was also anxious over the increasing number black fungus infection cases and directed the government to make medicines available to treat the patients. The court sought a report on the steps taken by the government to address the issue of black fungus infection.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy was dealing with PILs related to the Covid-19 infection.
The court commended the measures taken by the government and the police to enforce the lockdown, more specifically during Id-ul-Fitr. The court directed the police to ensure that there must be no crowding in the markets during the relaxation of lockdown. This came when senior counsel L. Ravichander brought the issue of overcrowding in the markets.
Reacting to an incident of a pregnant woman who died in an ambulance in Hyderabad on Friday, after being denied admission by several hospitals, the court said all the patients who come to hospitals should be admitted without insisting on RT-PCR reports. The court recalled the orders already issued regarding not to insist on test reports.
Justice Hima Kohli said the court had done right in staying the circular issued by the state government restraining entry of persons from other states to Telangana for Covid-19 treatment.
“The difficulty faced by the Telangana state government for treating an extra 35 percent of Covid-19 patients in the state was acknowledged by the Centre, and has resulted in the direct intervention of the Prime Minister and revised allocation of oxygen and life-saving drugs to the state,” Justice Kohli said, and thanked the Prime Minister. However, she said, counsel for the Centre had not submitted data on how much the supply of oxygen and life-saving drugs had been increased.
Expressing regret over press reports highlighting the issue of non-payment of salaries to contract and outsourced healthcare workers, especially in King Koti Hospital, the Chief Justice directed the government to immediately release the dues.
The court directed the government to treat all police personnel and teachers, who were deputed to the recently-held elections as ‘covid warriors’ and extend benefits to them.
Poojitha, one of the counsels, informed the Bench that nearly 500 such officials had been infected with Covid-19, out of which 15 teachers succumbed.
Taking cognizance of submissions by senior counsel Ravichander, who stated that the government website was fudging numbers on hospitals rendering Covid treatment and availability of beds, the court directed the government to place real-time data about bed availability.
Ravichander said around 350 hospitals, which are polyclinics, dental hospitals and others with 5,000 beds were reflected as Covid-19 hospitals in the website but were not rendering treatment on the ground. The government was directed to consider the introduction of walk-in vaccination in coordination with NGOs. The court sought details of vaccination to be administered to destitute, orphans, people from below poverty line and prison inmates, apart from people above 45 years and those above 18 years.
The state was directed to ensure that every civil authority in each district tied up with the local NGOs to set up community kitchens for providing free meals to the needy during the lockdown, as there were many instances where the entire family was down with Covid-19. A government order on the matter should be issued on the matter in 48 hours.
Rebuking the government for keeping the testing at an average of about 69,000 for 15 days and not enhancing the data, the court directed the government to increase the tests.
The court said a state task force should be constituted which should coordinate with the National Task Force with regard to allocation of oxygen and life-saving drugs. The court also sought a cap on the price of PPE kits, CT scans and blood tests done at private laboratories for Covid-19.
While responding to the contention of N.S. Arjun Kumar, one of the counsels, that revenue officials of Siddipet district were dislodging people from their homes at Moglicheruvu tanda, Etigaddakistapur, as the area would be submerged by water from the Mallanasagar, the court directed that the decision be altered till the end of the lockdown.
The court directed the government to consider the aspect of converting community centres for testing and Covid care. The court directed the government not to make steroids a part of the Covid-19 medical kit which is being given to patients.