The Gujarat High Court has called for information from the government on capacity of testing facilities and whether ambulances are being deployed on first cum first serve basis or after assessing the situation of the patient. The bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav D Karia resumed the suo moto proceedings to take stock of COVID-19 cases in the state.
LiveLaw reported that during the hearing, the Government Pleader, Manisha Lavkumar said that people were seeking treatment in hospitals of their preference and not as per availability. She stated that there were certain districts that still had beds unoccupied, despite the surge in cases. The state government had filed a detailed affidavit which gave details on RT PCR testing in districts and asserted that testing was being done in all districts including tribal belts. She informed the Court additionally that it was not feasible for the government to set up RTPCR machines in every taluka or nagar palika because the machines were highly sensitive and could be set in place only in place that had the facilities required for its maintenance and upkeep. She insisted that the government was being transparent in its figures and said that testing was taking place at 2518 per million against the national testing rate of 982.5 per million.
Further, about Remdesivir, she said that the vials were in shortage as only a lakh of vials was being manufactured initially and now 2 lakh vials are being manufactured with another 55,000 vials being received after the Central Government decided to stop exports of the drug. While maintaining that the government does not retain number of vials given out but said that they were being distributed in order of priority first to government centres and hospitals.
On the issue of oxygen supplies it was stated that Collectors and Commissioners were directed to take over hospitals with Oxygen supplies to ensure there was maximum infrastructure and that industries requiring oxygen were directed to halt such operations. It was further stated that there was a demand of 1050 metric tonnes as against capacity of 1100 metric tonnes of oxygen, reported LiveLaw.
The Court expressed concern at reports that designated patients were not being admitted to designated hospitals if they were not being transported on a 108 ambulance. The court said that the central helpline 108 goes by first come first serve basis but the pleader insisted that a team assessed every such call and accommodated patients that were more critical first to get an ambulance.
The court then sought information from the state on:
·district-wise split-up of testing facilities, capacity, how many patients are turning up, requests, the kinds of testing being done
·Whether ambulances were being deployed on first-come-first-serve basis or after assessing the situation of the patient, and whether patients were not being admitted to designated hospitals without being transported on a 108 ambulance
On the other hand, another bench of the high court of Justices Sonia Gokani and Vaibhavi Nanavati has issued notice to Surat BJP MLA Harsh Sanghavi, state BJP President CR Paatil and the District Collector in a plea filed by opposition leader Paresh Dhanani that the BJP Surat office had distributed 5000 vials of Remdesivir which were procured and stored illegally. Dhanani has urged an enquiry into the matter.