MUMBAI: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has expressed its displeasure over institutionally quarantined COVID-19 patients not following isolation norms, and directed for CCTVs to be installed in all such facilities in Nagpur.
A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote in its order on April 8, a copy of which was made available on Monday, said the installation of CCTV cameras would be useful to check the movements of quarantined patients in and out of their rooms.
The CCTVs shall be installed at the Maharashtra government's expense and proposals for the same shall be prepared by the Nagpur collector and commissioner of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, the court said.
The bench was hearing a petition taken up suo motu (on its own) last year on the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic and the condition of hospitals.
On April 8, the court was informed that in several institutional quarantine centres, COVID-19 patients were not following the isolation and social distancing norms and were seen roaming freely in the facility.
"It has been reported to us that because of such reckless and dangerous behaviour of some quarantined COVID-19 patients, those entrusted with the duty to look after these patients have started contracting COVID-19," the court said.
"Such behaviour of quarantined COVID-19 patients is highly deplorable and needs to be dealt with in a very stringent manner by the authority concerned," the HC said.
The court directed the Nagpur collector to take immediate steps to ensure quarantined COVID-19 patients are kept in strict isolation.
"We also direct for regular inspection of all institutional quarantine centres in Nagpur by an appropriate team with a mandate to take action then and there," the high court said.
It directed Nagpur city police commissioner and Nagpur rural superintendent of police to ensure police personnel deputed at such centres "perform their duty diligently and sincerely", and refrain from using their mobile phones for the purpose of entertainment and recreation while on duty.
The court had last week directed for a special 'Nagpur COVID-19 Committee' to be set up to address the problems being faced by hospitals, doctors and staff and the general public in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The HC on April 8 asked the committee to consider setting up of day care centres for those COVID-19 patients who only require a few hours of treatment and do not need to be admitted.
"This would help as many people fail to get admission in hospitals due to unavailability of beds," it said.
The bench said such day care centres could be set up in sports complexes, public schools, sports clubs and other such places.
On April 8, the committee headed by Nagpur divisional commissioner told the court that it has taken a decision that if any person wishes to undergo COVID-19 test, then he or she will be first made to take the antigen test.
"If the antigen test result is positive, then the person will be considered as COVID-19 positive and advised further treatment.
But, if the antigen test result is negative, then the person will be required to undergo the RT- PCR test," the committee told the court.
As per the committee, even if the antigen test comes out negative, the possibility of the person having coronavirus infection persists.
"This would reduce the load on RT-PCR laboratories as the patient found positive in the antigen test would not be required to undergo the RT-PCR test," the committee said.
The panel further told the court that it would take the help of social organisations to ensure mobilisation of people for taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on April 20.