The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday said the steps taken by the state government to contain the spread of COVID-19 was “not enough” in the present situation and further restrictions need to be imposed while keeping in mind the welfare of people at large.
The observation came after the state government informed the court about measures undertaken to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
“It is true that steps have been taken by the state government… but the same is not enough in the present situation and further steps to break the chain is also required to make the public at large aware about the pandemic and its grave effect on the society by imposing further restrictions as may be thought fit in the present situation,” a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice BD Karia said.
In its order on a suo motu (on its own) Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the COVID-19 situation in the state that was made available on its website Wednesday, the court said it was refraining from giving any direction or suggestion to the government in this regard.
“It is for the state to take appropriate steps keeping in mind the welfare of the public at large. If such actions are not taken, preventing the people to get together or from moving from one place to another unless and until it is inevitable, the (infection) chain would not be broken and the public at large would be the sufferer,” the bench said.
In his submission, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi told the court that a night curfew has been imposed from 8 pm to 6 am in 29 cities of the state from April 28 till May 5, which will be extended.
Further restrictions have been imposed like ordering closure of shops except those selling essential commodities, commercial establishments, marketing yards, allowing people in limited numbers in marriages and funerals, allowing offices to function at half their strength, prohibiting political, social, religious, cultural, and educational programmes and gatherings and closing places of worship, he told the court.
Notably, the government on Tuesday extended restrictions in 29 cities and imposed a night curfew in seven more towns.
In its order, the court also directed the government to disclose the “true and correct data” with regard to coronavirus testing facilities available in each town and PHCs (primary health centres) so that people could undergo RT-PCR test at the earliest.
The court directed the state government to provide “clear and transparent data” with regard to the availability of RT-PCR testing facilities at the district level on May 11, the next date of hearing.
The bench asked the government to provide data on distribution of medical oxygen and how it plans to augment its supply from alternative sources as well as date-wise demand and supply of the life-saving gas for the past two weeks and future projects.
The government should also provide details with regard to the distribution of Remdesivir injections received from Centre to various districts, as against the demand received from each district/hospital for the last 15 days, the court said.
The High Court also sought a reply on steps taken on complaints that washrooms at the 900-bed Dhanvantri COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad were not being kept clean.
The bench asked the government when all 900 beds of the hospital operational (currently only 558 beds are available for patients).
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