The Himachal High Court on Friday asked the state government to provide details of the availability of oxygen beds in both government and private hospitals. It also asked the government to improve the availability of beds, oxygen and medicines for Covid patients.
The court also directed the government to place on record its plan to tackle the Covid-19 surge.
The 25-page order passed by a division bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia directed the government to ramp up Covid testing facility at hospitals across the state and deploy mobile vans.
The court also took cognizance of media reports highlighting how hospitals are facing an acute shortage of beds amid rising Covid patients.
Besides asking the state government to increase the number of ICU beds in hospitals, the high court bench also asked to consider establishing temporary hospitals with the help of any Central agency.
The bench said it is essential to increase ICU beds as the mutant strain directly affects the lungs of the patient who then requires intensive care.
“The State should increase the number of dedicated Covid-19 hospitals. For, merely having a few dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, is too little to tackle the menace, especially when the pandemic is likely to spread and increase throughout the state in the coming months”, the court said.
Taking a strict stand on private hospitals' role in tackling the pandemic, the court said that in case private hospitals refuse to cooperate or show reluctance in providing testing facility for Covid, the government should not hesitate to proceed against such promoters under the Disaster Management Act and also Essential Services Maintenance Act and even use punitive steps against them as per law.
Taking note of the shortage of drugs used during the treatment of Covid-19, the court asked for complete details about their availability.
The high court bench also asked the government to come out with data on the vaccination programme for those aged between 18 to 44 and asked the reason for not starting the vaccination.
“The state government is directed to disclose clearly as to from which date, it shall commence the vaccination for the age group between 18 to 44 years", the order said.
The next hearing is slated for May 10.
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