STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

COVID-19: Gujarat government introduces curbs on gatherings after HC rapping; state records over 6000 cases

After Advocate General Kamal Trivedi informed the HC about steps taken by the Gujarat government to tackle the situation, the court said the reality is quite different from what the government claims.

Published: 13th April 2021 03:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th April 2021 08:47 AM   |  A+A-

Health workers shift a COVID-19 patient at the Government Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: The Gujarat High Court pulled up the state government on Monday over the Covid-19 situation and problems being faced by citizens, saying the reality is contrary to what the government claims.

“People now think that they are at God’s mercy,” a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia said while hearing a PIL, taken up suo motu (on its own), on the coronavirus situation in the state.

After Advocate General Kamal Trivedi informed the HC about steps taken by the Gujarat government to tackle the situation, the court said the reality is quite different from what the government claims.

“The situation is quite different than what you are claiming. You are saying that everything is alright. But, the reality is contrary to that,” the high court said during the hearing held via video-conferencing.

There is a “trust deficit” among people, it observed. 

“There is no shortage of Remdesivir (key anti-viral drug). Everything is available to you. We want results, not reasons,” the HC said, on complaints of shortage of Remdesivir injections for Covid  patients.

It now takes “almost five days” for a person to get the RT-PCR test result, it noted.

The HC also suggested some steps, like capping the number of guests at weddings to 50, instead of 100 at present, limiting the number of people at funerals, ban on all kind of gatherings, limiting the number of employees in offices and designating one person in each society to coordinate with authorities.

Gujarat has been reporting over 5,000 new cases of coronavirus since the last two days.

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi informed the HC about various steps taken by the Gujarat government, but the bench refused to accept most of the explanations, be it on the availability of beds or Remdesivir-the key anti-viral drug currently in high demand.

"The situation is quite different than what you are claiming. You are saying that everything is alright. But, the reality is contrary to that," the high court said.

There is a "trust deficit" among people, the HC observed during the hearing held via video conference.

"People are cursing the government and the government is cursing the people. This will not help. We need to break this chain of infection," the court said.

On some media reports claiming there was a shortage of Remdesivir injections and long queues outside a hospital to get it, Trivedi told the court that people who do not need the drug were also trying to buy it as a precautionary measure.

Remdesivir is not required if the patient is under home treatment or is asymptomatic and not critical.

The supply is also less from companies, he informed.

"Only seven companies make it. The production is just 1.75 lakh vials per day. We are procuring around 25,000 injections every day for Gujarat," Trivedi said.

However, the HC asked why the government was controlling the supply of Remdesivir when people were running here and there to get it and even designated hospitals were saying they do not have it.

"The medicine is available, but it is being controlled by the government. Why can't people buy it? Make sure it is available everywhere. There is no shortage of Remdesivir. Everything is available with you. We want results, not reasons," the court said.

On the issue of COVID-19 tests, it said laboratories are taking days to provide the RT-PCR test results to people.

Earlier, the RT-PCR test results used to come in 8, 10 or 12 hours.

It now takes "almost five days", the HC noted.

"That is for the common man. For someone like you or Mr Devnani (an advocate party to the case) or for us, may be we can speed up, we can jump the line," the court said.

But, for the common man, it takes five to seven days to get the RT-PCR report even today, said the bench.

"(It is happening because) you did not have the infrastructure. You did not increase facilities," the HC observed when Trivedi said the delay was because of a large number of samples being currently received by labs every day.

The bench also did not accept the state government's claim that enough beds were available for COVID-19 patients.

"I have information that patients are turned away even if beds are available at hospitals. If beds are there, then why are we seeing 40 ambulances with patients waiting outside hospitals?" asked Justice Nath.

In his response, Trivedi said despite all hospitals offering similar treatment, people want to get admitted to some specific hospitals, resulting in a huge rush outside some medical facilities.

The advocate general also expressed apprehensions over the possibility of a lockdown, saying it would increase the miseries of the poor and migrant workers.

However, hours after the HC rapping, the state government on Monday decided to ban all sorts of social, political and religious gatherings, including birthday parties in public places with the immediate effect.

Issuing a video message in the evening, the chief minister also announced a ban on the public celebration of all festivals, irrespective of faiths, falling in April and May.

He also appealed to people to celebrate the upcoming festivals at home and avoid gathering in public.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also asked (managements of) all religious places in the state to ban the entry of visitors and devotees till April 30 and appealed to them to perform daily rituals in the presence of a limited number of people.

He also asked people to avoid visiting the places of their respective faiths till the pandemic situation improves.

Earlier in the day, while hearing a PIL suo motu (on its own) on the situation in the state, a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia suggested various measures like capping the number of guests at weddings to 50, instead of 100 at present.

The bench also proposed that the number of people who can attend funerals be restricted, gatherings banned, and the number of employees in offices is restricted.

While pulling up the state government, the bench said the reality is contrary to what the government claims and added "People now think that they are at God's mercy".

In line with these suggestions, the state government now capped the number of guests at weddings at 50.

Similarly, only 50 people can attend funerals now.

To minimise the human-to-human contact, all offices, including private and government, will function with 50 per cent staff, the CM added.

The state also reported the highest 6,021 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours and 55 fatalities, also highest in a day, taking the tally to 3,53,516 and the toll to 4,855, the state health department said.

The state is now left with 30,680 active cases, it said.

Of the 55 fatalities, 20 patients died in Ahmedabad district, 19 in Surat, 7 in Vadodara, and 6 in Rajkot.

One patient each succumbed to the viral infection in Bharuch, Botad and Sabarkantha.

At 1,907, Ahmedabad city reported the highest number of new cases in the state in the last 24 hours, followed by 1,174 cases in Surat city, 503 in Rajkot city, 295 in Surat district, 261 in Vadodara city, 184 in Jamnagar city, 136 in Mehsana, 120 in Vadodara district, 112 in Jamnagar and 97 in Patan district, the department said.

A total of 2,854 patients were discharged in Gujarat during the last 24 hours, taking the count of recoveries so far to 3,17,981 on Monday, it said in a release.

Worryingly, Gujarat's case recovery rate has fallen to 89.95 per cent.

A total of 82.37 lakh people in Gujarat have been administered the first dose of the anti-COVID 19 vaccine so far while 11.12 lakh people received the second dose, the release said.

Gujarat's COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 3,53,516, new cases 6,021, deaths 4,855, discharged 3,17,981, active cases 30,680 and people tested so far - figures not released.

A total of 118 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the adjoining Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu in the last 24 hours, officials said, adding that 19 patients were discharged during the day.

Of the 4,177 people who tested positive for coronavirus in the UT since the outbreak, two have died, 3,678 have recovered while 497 cases are still active.

(With PTI Inputs)



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp