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SC expresses anguish over death of 5 COVID patients in Rajkot hospital fire, seeks report

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The Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu cognizance and expressed anguish over the incident where at least five COVID-19 patients were killed and six others were injured in a fire in the ICU unit of a private hospital in Gujarat`s Rajkot.

“This is shocking. Let me say this is not the first incident. We are taking suo motu cognizance of this incident,” a three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah told the counsel appearing for Gujarat.

The bench noted that this is not the first fire incident at a COVID-19 designated hospital and remarked that no complete steps have been taken in this regard.The apex court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central government, to submit a report on what steps are taken in this regard and also sought a report from the Gujarat government on Rajkot fire incident.

Mehta said that Centre will take steps so that such incidents are not repeated. Justice Shah noted that some committee or commission always takes up and then closes the proceedings.

“Why no fire prevention mechanism is present? Someone has to do 24×7 monitoring of the situation. There needs to be an inspection of whether electrical lines are proper or not. How does this short circuit happen?” Justice Shah questioned.

Mehta submitted before the apex court that it is a serious incident and some measures need to be taken to prevent fires in hospitals and added that he will ensure a meeting takes place today itself and that a decision is taken in the matter.

“Joint meeting between electricity and fire department will take place. I will ensure a meeting takes place today and immediate steps are taken so as to ensure that there is a system in place to look at the issues of fire safety,” Mehta said.

The bench said that the Union of India issues guidelines but asked what is the implementation of it in this state? “No development of vaccines everything is in the trial stage! Look at the gatherings in states. 

The second wave of the crisis has already begun,” it added.

“These incidents are repeated and we notice that no complete steps being taken by states nor is there any mechanism to abrogate the situation…,” the bench, hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the management of COVID-19 crisis and mishandling of dead bodies, said and posted the matter for further hearing on December 1.

The Solicitor General said that the government will take account of measures and what can be done. We will look at setting up preventive measures for fires, Mehta said.

The bench noted that “processions are being taken out and 80 per cent people are not wearing masks. Rest have masks hanging on to their jaw. There are SOPs, there are guidelines but there is no will” and remarked that things are going from bad to worse and not concrete steps being taken by the Centre or state.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that more tightening up by states is required.Meanwhile, the Central government in an affidavit submitted before the top court blamed the Delhi government for the worsening of COVID-19 situations in the national capital. 

It said that the Delhi government was lax in containing COVID-19 and added that the failure in enforcing measures by it led to the spread of infection.No effective preventive steps were taken to contain the infection, Centre said in the affidavit.

It said that despite knowing that festivities and winter might lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Delhi government didn`t do enough. Those in-home isolation were not properly traced and private hospitals also flouted discharge policy, it added.

“It is also extremely crucial to note here that in a survey of the 114 private hospitals in Delhi, which was carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs from November 17 to November 18 it was found that the observance of discharge policy and prescribed Clinical Management Protocol was very lax, thus leading to a large number of patients not being given the proper treatment,” the affidavit said, adding that the Delhi government has now been asked to strictly comply with the prescribed protocols in this regard.

It said that the fatality rate in India remains low at 1.46 per cent, when compared to a global average of 2.36 per cent and added that India stands at a total death count of 0.13 million. 

The government will continue making effort to bring our CFR down to less than 1 per cent, and accelerate our efforts in reducing the positivity rate, which stands at 6.9 per cent, it said.

This article is auto-generated by Algorithm Source: www.dnaindia.com

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