Uttarakhand high court in Nainital. (HT archive)
Uttarakhand high court in Nainital. (HT archive)

Uttarakhand HC to govt: Review decision to relax Covid-19 lockdown

The Uttarakhand high court issued the direction while expressing concern over a heavy influx of tourists into hill stations such as Nainital without following Covid norms
UPDATED ON JUL 07, 2021 05:49 PM IST

The Uttarakhand high court on Wednesday directed the government to review its decision to relax the weekend Covid-19 lockdown as “the tourists may bring in and introduce the dreaded Delta plus variant in the state”. It issued the direction while expressing concern over a heavy influx of tourists into hill stations such as Nainital without following Covid norms.

The state government has extended the Covid-19 curfew in the state till July 13 but announced more relaxations.

A division bench of chief justice RS Chauhan and justice Alok Verma, which was hearing a bunch of pleas regarding the fight against the pandemic, directed SS Sandhu, chief secretary, to inform the court whether the state government has taken any decision about tightening the lockdown during the weekends. It directed the government to take steps to control the inflow of tourists and inform the public about them.

The court directed Amit Negi, secretary, health department, to inform it about the number of Covid-19 samples sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the reports received, and the steps being taken if anyone has been found to be suffering from the Delta variant or the Delta plus variant of the virus.

Negi told the court 521 samples have been sent to the NCDC and out of them, 144 have been found to be Covid-19 positive and belong to the Delta variant. “A single sample...from the Udham Singh Nagar district has been discovered to be as a Delta Plus variant sample.”

The court directed Negi to inform it about the number of MRI machines and whether they are available in all the government hospitals. It asked the government about community health centres and about those without doctors, availability of paediatric beds, paediatric ventilators, and paediatric wards in the hospitals.

The court sought to know the position of vaccination, inoculation carried out in each district, how many have received the first and vaccine second doses, the daily rate of vaccination. It asked the government to consider vaccinating the physically challenged and elderly people as expeditiously as possible.

The court directed Negi to consider increasing the stipend being paid to the intern doctors. “For, on the one hand, according to Amit Negi, it is difficult to attract the doctors to the State, yet, on the other hand, the stipend being paid to the intern doctors is too low as compared to the other States.”

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