States must rise above politics, take vigorous steps to contain Covid-19: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Friday took suo moto cognizance of a fire that broke out in a Covid-19 hospital in Rajkot, Gujarat, on Thursday and led to the death of six patients in the ICU. The court called states to rise above politics and take vigorous measures against the Covid-19 wave in the country, which had gone from “bad to worse”.
A three-judge bench headed by justice Ashok Bhushan demanded a response from the Gujarat government by Tuesday when the matter will next be heard.
The court said, “It is not the first such incident where a fire has occurred in a Covid-19 hospital. Earlier it has happened in Ahmedabad and Andhra Pradesh where patients died due to fire. No concrete steps have been taken by states nor any mechanism is there to prevent such fires.”
The court said that it was not interested in a report; instead it wanted the Centre to find the root cause of such problems by inspecting Covid-19 hospitals. In addition, the bench asked the Centre to ensure strict enforcement of the Covid-19 guidelines.
“We are watching everyday celebrations and processions being take out. Sixty per cent of people have no masks and 30% have their masks hanging... it’s high time to take some strict measures. From November, situation has gone from bad to worse. If no harsh steps are taken, all efforts taken by Centre will go in vain,” said the bench which also comprised justices RS Reddy and MR Shah.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta called the fire incidents serious and said that an urgent meeting shall be called to address concerns expressed by the court.
He agreed states must increase their efforts to deal with the situation. According to him, 10 states must work even harder as they are reporting the highest number of cases. These include Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal, Karnataka, UP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.
The bench said, “States must rise above politics. The Centre is issuing guidelines, but where is the implementation by states? The hard fact is there is no medicine yet, vaccine is in trial stage and social distancing is not followed. Officers must enforce that such gatherings are avoided.”
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- Lon Varratu drive was launched in June 2020, and till now, 272 Maoists, including senior cadres, have surrendered in Dantewada district.