Nagpur: HC orders setting up of panel to monitor COVID-19 situation in city

Taking note of the surge in COVID-19 cases and the stress faced by the authorities, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered that a COVID-19 committee should be set up to tackle the issues in the district.

A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote was hearing a public interest litigation taken up suo moto (on its own) in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic in India.

The bench noted that coronavirus has once raised its head and perhaps in its ugliest form ever.

"We are witnessing thousands of persons testing positive for COVID-19 not only in Nagpur, but also in other cities of Maharashtra and the whole health machinery is under tremendous stress," the court said.

It observed that private hospitals in Nagpur are full and only a few beds are available in government and civic-run hospitals.

"Health authorities are also experiencing a dearth of doctors and nursing staff. All these factors have created an emergency, which is required to be addressed comprehensively by the authorities working in the field," the bench said.

The court noted that a new committee must be set up so that a comprehensive plan and strategy is prepared and necessary care and precaution is taken.

The committee will have to list the difficulties faced at present in Nagpur and give its suggestions.

The committee will be called the Nagpur COVID-19 committee and be headed by the Nagpur divisional commissioner and with the district collector as its member secretary, the court ordered.

Members of the committee will include the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Nagpur, dean of the Government Medical College and Hospital and deans of other state and civic-run hospitals there, the bench said.

"The committee shall deliberate over the present scenario, chalk out a comprehensive plan and strategy for tackling the present and future situation of the pandemic in Nagpur," the court said.

The committee will also spell out the difficulties faced by the health authorities and by private hospitals, it said.

The court said the committee will also consider regulating admissions of COVID-19 patients to all hospitals including private ones, as there are complaints about admitting non-serious/non-deserving patients to COVID-19 hospitals.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on April 8.

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