The High Court of Tripura Friday admitted a suo mottu case over the alleged plight of COVID-19 patients and their relatives at the Govind Ballabh Panth (GBP) Hospital here and instructed the state government to submit affidavit on a number of queries by September 18.
The queries include total number of coronavirus cases, treatment centres with break-up of necessary infrastructure, medicines, availability of medical and paramedical workforce in Covid treatment centers, status of permission to admit patients in private hospitals, lack of communication between patients and their relatives, fund allocation and steps taken to improve condition of government COVID-19 treatment centers.
Citing media report, a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Akil Qureshi and Justice Subhashish Talapatra observed that while recognising the need to allow the government to do its duty, the Court is of the opinion that time has come when it needs to inquire with respect to the issues revolving around the handling of coronavirus spread in Tripura.
According to the state government’s declaration, Tripura has 2,865 hospital beds available across the state for coronavirus patients. These include district hospitals as well as dedicated COVID care centres and hospital. Among these, GBP Hospital has got 240 beds, augmented recently from the original 180 bed capacity in the hospital’s COVID ward.
The High Court has observed that GBP Hospital has 279 patients as on date, which is higher than the total number of beds available.
Tripura has 19 ventilators available in service, and all of them are stationed at GBP Hospital, meaning any patient with respiratory problems, which is one of the symptoms of COVID-19, would have to be shifted to Agartala for any chance of survival.
The High Court’s intervention comes as Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb is touring different districts, urging district hospitals to treat COVID patients there, instead of sending everyone to Agartala.
Reacting to the High Court order, Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik said he feels the Court’s intervention would help the government to solve any ‘outstanding problems’ that might exist. “Healthcare system in Tripura has been very backward since for a century or more. We have lots of shortcomings here. The state government is trying its best, but within its limitations. It will be helpful, now that the High Court has stepped in, to deal with the matter,” Bhowmik said.
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