As per the current scenario of Himachal Pradesh, when there is a sudden outburst in the Covid cases that even rural areas are no longer shielded from the virus, Himachal Pradesh High Court issued some directions to the state for covid management.
A Division Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia revisited the Hon'ble Supreme Court order passed on 18th December 2020 where SC held after taking suo moto cognizance that Article 21 includes Right to health which includes affordable treatment and the state must ensure that no one will remain deprived. SC also called for a Government-Public partnership to fight against the pandemic.
The HP High Court was dealing with the petition stating the grievances such as lack of oxygen facilities at a Government Medical College and the non-functioning of 25 ventilators.HC considered this situation as an acute medical crisis, it noticed that not only urban areas but also villages are affected by this wave of COVID-19.
The court came to know that many persons have died due to an acute shortage of oxygen and some crucial life-saving drugs such as Remdesiver, Tocilizumav and Favipiravir. Mostly, the test report of RT-PCR is not published on time and in certain cases, the dead body of the patient is handed over to the family to take home and in those cases, cremation is not done as per the COVID-19 Protocol, which increases the possibility of infection by Coronavirus amongst the family members and others.
Therefore, Himachal Pradesh High Court issued some directions:
(i) Increase the number of approved laboratories/clinics/hospitals to test a larger portion of the population.
(ii) Increase the number of testing being done in the bigger towns of the State and increase the application of other kits also rather than the Rapid Antigen Kit, or the RT PCR tests.
(iii) To facilitate testing in the hill districts, the state should operate the mobile vans equipped with testing kits.
(iv) Increase the number of COVID hospitals.
(v) Increase the number of beds equipped with oxygen tanks and ventilators, it is also suggested to increase the number of ICUs.
(vi) State should ensure the availability of PPE kits, masks, gloves, sanitisers to all the medical staffs.
(v) To publish the details of testing centres in the media bulletin every day, which must be clear and easy to understand.
(vi) Private hospitals cannot refuse testing if found not cooperating, the state can take coercive action permissible by law.
(vii)To purchase more CT scan machine.
The High Court also directed the state to provide the following information:
[i] Total available beds and oxygen in the hospitals (public as well as private).
[ii] Details of the measures taken to meet the availability of oxygen for both the current and the predicted requirement.
[iii] Plan of the State under Disaster Management Act to fight COVID.
[iv] The measures to ensure the availability of life-saving drugs.
[v] Details regarding the distribution of oxygen and steps to increase the supply.
[vi] Data of demand and supply of oxygen for last two weeks along with the data of estimated demand and supply for future.
[vii] Uploading of real-time data on the web portals.
[viii] Steps to ensure the availability of oxygen to the home isolated patients.
[ix] Roadmap to tackle expected the third wave of COVID-19.
[x] Status of availability of vaccines for age group 18-44.