The High Court of Tripura on Friday studied an affidavit submitted by the Tripura government in connection with a suo motu case over steps taken to combat COVID-19 pandemic and asked the government to furnish details on thirteen new queries within September 28.
Earlier on Friday, the High Court admitted a suo motu case, taking cognisance of media reports on alleged plight of COVID-19 patients and their relatives at hospitals and instructed the state government to submit affidavit on a number of queries including total number of coronavirus cases, COVID treatment centres with breakup of necessary infrastructure, medicines, availability of medical and paramedical workforce in corona treatment centers, status of permission to admit COVID patients in private hospitals, steps taken to improve condition of govt COVID treatment centres among others.
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 the court needs to make inquiries from the government with respect to the issues revolving round the handling of coronavirus spread in Tripura.
After receiving reply from the government, the High Court has asked for replies on 13 other queries and said it would be making a few observations and suggestions, which, the court feels, would enable the administration to handle coronavirus care better.
The queries include: breakup of lab technicians engaged in every district, fine collected for breach of government order on wearing masks, boosting tactics to enforce social distancing, guidelines for looking after COVID-19 patient in home quarantine, breakup of active patients and number of beds at Govind Ballabh Panth (GBP) Hospital, the only dedicated COVID hospital of Tripura, details of patients admitted at other COVID health centres and COVID care centres, number of ventilators available and oxygen equipped ambulances for shifting COVID-19 patients, efforts taken to negotiate rates of treating COVID-19 patients at private hospitals to ensure people don’t end up paying exorbitant charges, number of COVID tests conducted on a daily basis during last seven days, positivity rate and recovery rate and details of report submitted by a central medical team, which is now visiting Tripura to assess the pandemic situation and steps taken by the government.
The Court has also advised the government to consider setting up a special enquiry cell at GBP Hospital for communication between admitted patients and their relatives, a complaints and suggestions centre and address concern of medical and paramedical staff engaged with COVID-19 care.
The High Court appointed Advocate Somik Deb as Amicus Curiae in the case. Tripura Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik told reporters that he has apprised the Court of all steps taken by the government and sought support from people, media and the High Court to combat the pandemic effectively.
Bhowmik also said that he has sought before the High Court to appeal people against making ‘irresponsible’ comments as few political leaders recently called GBP Hospital ‘hell’ and someone else commented that going to this hospital would mean choosing definite death.
The Court has appealed in its order that it is important for all concerned to show maturity in dealing with the situation, when the state is grappling with a pandemic of gigantic scale.
According to the latest reports, Tripura till now has lost 235 lives to the virus while 20,972 people have tested positive for Covid-19 so far. The state government has so far tested 3,48,535 people for the virus which comes to 87,186 tests per million.
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