SC says COVID-19 situation worsened in Delhi, Gujarat, asks Centre, states to file status report

The situation is likely to worsen in December and all states have to be ready to "combat" it, the top court said while expressing concern over the spurt in coronavirus cases across the country.

Published: 23rd November 2020 08:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd November 2020 08:34 PM   |  A+A-

coronavirus, PPE, COVID 19

For representational purposes (File photo| PTI)


NEW DELHI: The COVID-19 pandemic has 'worsened' in Delhi and gone 'out of control' in Gujarat, the Supreme Court said on Monday, directing the Centre and all states to apprise it within two days of the steps taken to contain the situation nationwide.

The situation is likely to worsen in December and all states have to be ready to "combat" it, the top court said while expressing concern over the spurt in coronavirus cases across the country.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy, and M R Shah said, "We are of the view that the immediate steps are required to be taken by all the States as well as by the Union of India. Let status report, as indicated, be filed within two days from today and the matter be listed on November 27, 2020 for consideration and passing appropriate orders."

The bench told Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Delhi government, "Things have worsened in Delhi especially in November. You file a status report on what steps are being taken to contain the situation."

"In Gujarat, the situation is going out of control," said the bench, while noting that this month there has been a spike in the COVID cases throughout the country, especially in Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

"It is also submitted that the situation in the month of December is likely to worsen and all States have to be prepared to combat the worsened situation regarding COVID-19," the bench noted in its order and observed that authorities have to take immediate steps.

"There is a spike in cases and this is only November. Prepare for the worst in December. You have to take immediate steps," the bench told advocate Rahul Chitnis, appearing for Maharashtra.

The top court said all efforts shall be made by the Centre and the states to mitigate the situation and to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

It pulled up the Gujarat government for allowing huge gatherings in functions including wedding celebrations saying that the cases are rising there and the situation has worsened in the State just after Delhi and Maharashtra.

The top court also sought to know the policy of the Gujarat government on allowing social gathering during the pandemic and said that situation has "gone out of control" in the state.

As per the data provided by the Union health ministry on Monday morning, India's COVID-19 caseload went past 91 lakh with 44,059 coronavirus infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries surged to 85,62,641.

The death toll climbed to 1,33,738 with 511 new fatalities.

Delhi had recorded 6,746 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday while 121 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 8,391.

The total number of cases in Delhi had climbed to 5,29,863 of which 4,81,260 have recovered.

Gujarat on Sunday had reported 1,495 fresh positive cases, taking the total count of infections to 1,97,412, while fatalities mounted to 3,859.

With the addition of 5,753 coronavirus positive cases in Maharashtra on Sunday, the state's overall infection count increased to 17,80,208 and the death of 50 patients took the fatality count to 46,623.

The bench was hearing the matter on Monday in which it had taken cognizance regarding need for proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in the hospitals.

During the hearing, the bench noted the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who said that Home Minister Amit Shah had chaired a meeting on November 15 and steps are being taken to deal with the situation in the national capital.

He sought time to file an affidavit to bring the status of COVID-19 cases in the country, especially Delhi.

Jain told the bench that as per the earlier order of the apex court, an expert committee has been constituted and other directions have also been complied with by the Delhi government.

He said that a separate space has been earmarked for the cremation of 385 bodies.

"We have no difficulty that you have complied with orders of this court. But looking at the present situation, what else are you doing," the bench observed and asked Jain to file a status report. At the outset, Mehta said the matter is related to handling of dead bodies and it is "painful that the court has to deal with this issue."

"It was only part of the order. It relates to the hospital situation also," the bench observed and granted two days' time to all the States to file a status report regarding the present situation of the COVID cases and steps taken to mitigate the situation.

In the June 19 order, the apex court had directed the Centre and states to set up an expert panel for effective monitoring, supervision, and guidance of government and COVID dedicated hospitals for providing proper health care to patients.

It had directed the Centre to bring uniformity in charges of testing and other facilities and ordered it to constitute an expert committee of senior doctors of Central government hospitals, GNCTD run hospitals, AIIMS, and responsible officers from the Union health ministry.

It had said that the expert committee shall inspect, supervise and issue necessary directions to all government hospitals, COVID hospitals, and other hospitals in NCT of Delhi for taking care of COVID patients and the panel shall ensure that at least one visit in each hospital is done weekly.

The top court had further directed that all states shall constitute an expert team of doctors and other experts for inspection, supervision, and guidance of government hospitals and other hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 in each state.


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