NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to make suggestions in the guidelines for rational use of personal protective equipment so that the PPE kits are provided to all medical professionals who are working in non-COVID treatment areas in the country.
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana, hearing the matter through video-conferencing, passed the direction after it was informed that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are reported to be on the rise in India.
The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and B R Gavai, was dealing with an application seeking provision for PPE for health workers including doctors, nurses, ward boys, medical and para-medical professionals who are working in non-COVID treatment areas keeping in view that fact that coronavirus infection from asymptomatic patients is reported to be on the rise.
"We find substance in the suggestions made by the applicant," the bench noted in its order passed on Monday.
"In view of the above, we direct the respondent/ Union of India to examine this issue and make necessary suggestions in the 'Rational Use of Personal Protective Equipment' guidelines so that PPEs are provided to all health officials, as stated above, who are working in non-COVID treatment areas," the bench said.
The bench, which disposed of the plea, made it clear that orders passed by the apex court on April 8 in the matter would continue.
On April 8, the apex court had observed that doctors and medical staffs are the "first line of defence of the country" in the combat with COVID-19 pandemic and directed the Centre to ensure that appropriate PPE are made available to them for treating coronavirus patients.
While passing a slew of interim directions to ensure safety and security of doctors and healthcare professionals, the top court had directed the Centre, all states and union territories to provide necessary police security to them in hospitals and places where patients, who are either quarantined, suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19, are housed.
The court had directed that "states shall also take necessary action against those persons who obstruct and commit any offence in respect to the performance of duties by doctors, medical staff and other government officials deputed to contain COVID-19".
The court had passed the order on pleas seeking protective kits, other requisite equipment and safety measure for doctors and healthcare workers amid coronavirus pandemic.
It had directed that necessary police security be extended to doctors and other medical staffs, who visit places to conduct screening of people to find out symptoms of the disease.