Written by: Sagar Rana (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
On 12 th April 2021, The Allahabad High Court directed the Government Uttar Pradesh to look into the possibility of complete lockdown in districts where the spread of COVID-19 has a shocking rate in the last two or three weeks saying if the circumstances are not handled carefully and thoughtfully it may lead to the complete breakdown of the public health system. The high court, asked authorities to give importance to public health over elections and favoured restrictions on public gatherings to 50 persons.
The bench comprising Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma were of the opinion that, complete lockdown for weeks together may not be reasonable but looking to the current spike in the pandemic, thus directed the government to look into the possibility of complete lockdown in those districts where spread has increased terrifyingly, for at least two weeks or three weeks at least and immediately all public gatherings must be restricted to 50 persons. COVID-19 has severely hit districts like Prayagraj, Varanasi, Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Kanpur. The Centre and the State Government have been directed by the High Court, to safeguard enough production of Remdesivir drug by making its raw materials accessible to pharma companies and safeguarding its supply in the open market and to take strict action against those who are hoarding it and are involved in its black marketing.
The bench after observation gave its opinion that, “The spike in COVID cases has absolutely paralysed public life and all the medical aid systems have reached a stage of complete saturation. We have been informed that COVID Hospitals are over-flooded with COVID patients and there is shortage of both manpower and available facilities in hospitals.”
The bench which was dealing with a PIL on the condition of quarantine centres and treatment of coronavirus infected patients in Uttar Pradesh observed that the situation is so distressing that if it is not handled carefully and thoughtfully we may lead to the stage of a complete breakdown of the public health system.
The bench also told the state government to arrange manpower on contract basis immediately to serve all those who are admitted to temporary level 1 COVID hospitals/centres and to vigorously carry out the immunization programme in the state.
The High court, on its opinion on the medical needs of patients other than that of COVID-19, said that, “We must not forget that people suffer from various other diseases and so they may need not only urgent medical help but intensive care admission as well.” And also directed the state government to buy more ICU beds for hospitals.
The Court also observed that, the Indian Counsel for Medical Research (ICMR) along with the Central Government must rethink for extending the benefit of vaccination to students especially those who are pursuing higher education and those who are appearing for the board examination of both high school and intermediate level. If the board exams of these students are going to be offline in nature, then the government must explore the possibility to vaccinate students as well.
“We must give priority to public health over elections and the Government is expected to streamline every department of public health and public care in the light of the observations made herein above”, said the bench while fixing 19 th April 2021 as the next date of hearing in the case.