'Ghost of COVID marching on streets': Allahabad HC directs UP govt to ramp up 'saturated' healthcare infrastructure

The high court also reiterated its request to the state government to consider imposing a two-week complete lockdown in the most affected districts

FP Staff April 27, 2021 22:27:02 IST
'Ghost of COVID marching on streets': Allahabad HC directs UP govt to ramp up 'saturated' healthcare infrastructure

File image of Allahabad High Court.

Stating that the Yogi Adityanath govt had become complacent in monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh by the end of 2020, the Allahabad High Court reiterated its request to impose a two-week lockdown and asked the state govt to ramp up its "saturated" healthcare infrastructure.

“I again request, if things are not in control then impose a two-week lockdown. Please suggest it to your policymakers. It is blowing out of proportion,” a bench led by Justice Siddhart Varma said while hearing a suo moto case on the COVID-19 situation in Uttar Pradesh, according to a Bar&Benchreport.

The remarks came even as the state recorded its highest COVID-19 death toll so far as 265 people succumbed to the disease, while nearly 33,000 fresh people tested positive for the virus, taking the overall tally to 11,53,097, according to official data.

Of the 32,993 fresh COVID-19 cases recorded in the state, 4,437 were registered in Lucknow, followed by 2,320 in Kanpur, 1,752 in Varanasi, 1,521 in Allahabad, 1,427 in Bareilly, 1,291 in Meerut and 1,068 in Ghaziabad.

This is the second time when the high court requested the state government to consider imposing a complete lockdown in the most affected districts.

The high court’s request comes nearly a week after the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad High Court’s order directing lockdown in five cities of the state amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

"The ghost of corona is marching on the roads and streets of the major cities of Uttar Pradesh," the Bench consisting of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar said as per Bar & Bench.

HC orders state govt to take 'immediate steps'

In an order passed on Tuesday evening, the court directed the state government to take "immediate steps" in ten cities, Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur Nagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Gorakhpur, and Jhansi.

The court issued directions to ramp up the currently "saturated healthcare" infrastructure in the state and sought a blueprint in that regard by the next date of hearing, which is 3 May, reports LiveLaw.

Some of these steps include publishing a daily bulletin twice a day on the number of hospital beds, beds in ICU, statistical details of oxygen supply, availability of life-saving drugs.

The court also ordered that the state must ensure that every death in all COVID-19 hospitals and assigned private hospitals in every district is reported to a Judicial Officer to be appointed by District Judge at the end of each day.

While the bench acknowledged that the state government alone cannot fight the pandemic and urged for people's cooperation, it said that "those in power must shun the attitude of 'my Way or no way' and should welcome suggestions from all the quarters."

Allahabad High Court order by Manasi Chandu on Scribd

The court also took judicial notice of a news publication reporting that 135 teachers, Shiksha Mitras, and investigators, who were assigned election duty, had died due to coronavirus .

HC pulls up EC

As per LiveLaw, the Bench also sent a notice to the state election commission to explain why it had failed to check non-compliance of COVID-19 guidelines during various phases of the panchayat elections held recently and why action should not be taken against it and its officials for the same and those responsible be prosecuted for such violations.

“It appears that neither the police nor Election Commission did anything to save the people on election duty from getting infected by this deadly virus”, the court was quoted by The Leaflet as saying.

The court further directed the State Election Commission to take immediately all such measures in forthcoming phases of panchayat elections in the state to ensure that "the COVID-19 guidelines dated 20.04.2021 of social distancing and face masking is religiously complied with, else action is liable to be taken against the officials involved in the election process".

“Had it been constantly vigilant, it would have prepared itself to face the onslaught of the pandemic in its second wave. Posterity would never forgive us if we remain oblivious to the real public health issues and let the people die for want of adequate health care”, the court said.

With inputs from agencies

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