A Gujarat High Court Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav D Karia is hearing a suo motu case on the worsening COVID-19 situation in Gujarat. Advocate General Kamal Trivedi appeared on behalf of the State government.
The Gujarat High Court has once again taken the State Government to task regarding inaccurate figures and statistics submitted by the Government regarding Covid Cases.
Chief Justice Vikram Nath initiated the proceedings stating that suggestions given in Court Order dated Feb 2020 are not implmented seriously. Court had suggested increased testing, arranging for more hospital beds, maintaining social distancing and wearing of masks, etc.Court mentioned the rise of cases in the State . It has gone up to 7,410 cases a day.Court observed that State should have been more prepared and vigilant.
Court further questioned the State regarding Remdesivir Injection.It asked the State to come with clear guidelines regarding usage of Remdesivir Injection. It further sought explanation in which condition Patients are required to be given the Injection.Court raised the matter of Black Marketing and hoarding of the Injection in this critical time and also asked the State to cap the price at the earliest.
The court observed that Injection priced Rs 900 are being sold at 14,000-15,000 Rs.Advocte General in his reply highligted that Doctors are over prescribing the drug and there is enough stock for anyone who needs it on medical advice.
Advocate General had discussion with the expert committee of Doctors setup by the State and as per their advice stated that this injection is to be given only when a patient is having high fever for 4-5 days and only if oxygen level goes down to a certain extent.It also has side effects on kidney and lever and thus should only be given under medical supervision.
Court then gone through affidavit filed by State of Gujarat.Advocate General AG Trivedi said testing has been increased to 8,000-12,000 samples per day and result are available within 12-24 hours.The advocate general further mentioned that over 1 crore tests have been conducted and positive rate has remained below 3%.
Advocate General said that only 53% beds are occupied out of total 71,000 beds that are made available. Court observed the current situation and data from news and press reports negated the Advocate General statement and mentioned that State is fudging figures and statistics and are contrary with reality.
Regarding availability of Oxygen Advocate General mentioned that Oxygen requirement has increased 14 times. At one point, 80% of oxygen was going to industrial sector.
State has passed an order saying that entire supply should go to medical sector.100% of oxygen production in four districts reserved for healthcare sector. 482 metric tonnes will be used only for hospitals and manufacturers has been asked to ramp up production capacity to 1100 metric tonnes.
Court also noted about CT Scan availability.As the current variant of Covid might not get detected in RTPCR tests Doctors are recommending CT Scan.State has to ensure CT Scan machines are running and are in working condition in Government Hospitals.
Senior Advocate Percy Kavina, appearing for an applicant, makes submissions before the Court. He mentioned that vital role of government is to do confidence building and transparency. If the government’s words were a little more credible, they would be believed.
Measures for treatment must be clearly laid out. Quackery methods must be condemned for what they are. Government must say that Kadha ,Ayurveda etc do not help.State has to be clear in messaging. You cannot force restaurants to shut but allow scores of people into ghats.
Advocate Anand Yagnik said that The recent local body elections ahs contributed heavily in Corona Cases. He requested RT-PCR facilities in every District and Taluka. 11 district judges out of 33 have said that except in big cities of Gujarat, there is no RT-PCR. But govt is saying every district has it.Facilities are absolutely insufficient.There is extreme shortage of pulmonologists in primary health centres in rural areas.
Advocate Chetan Pandya mentioned that there is lack of any real time information of availability of hospitals,beds,oxygen,ventilator.As a result people are running from Pillar to Post for securing bed in Hospitals only to find out that no vacant beds are available.
Chief Justice also took a note and mentioned that the portal of the State does not provide real-time figures. It may show there is availability, but when you go to a hospital you will find otherwise.Portal for entire State showing real time data on number of beds, ICU beds, ventilators is needed at the earliest.
Senior Advocate Anand Yagnik said during the course of hearing he called many laboratories for RT-PCR tests but received no response.He said lakhs of people are watching this and looking to the Court to deliver.He mentioned that he isexpressing the reality and misery of people and updating the Court about the situation on Ground.
Hearing ended and Chief Justice Vikram Nath passed an order and granted the State further time to file status report on Remdesivir, testing, hospital beds etc.
Next date of hearing is kept on 20-04-2021.