HC says COVID-19 situation in Karnataka is ‘very bad’


Describing the COVID-19 situation in the State as “very bad”, the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday directed the State government to immediately take a call on purchasing Remdesivir directly from manufacturers and distributors, and then supply to the hospitals for a fixed price in a fair and transparent manner.

Till the government decides on direct purchasing of Remdesivir, a mechanism should be evolved immediately to give a real-time online information system on availability of Remdisivir with stockists and retails so that the family members of COVID-19 patients could procure it easily as and when the vial is prescribed by the hospitals.

Also, the court directed the government to create a distribution system for supply of oxygen to the hospitals by coordinating with manufacturers and suppliers in addition to the war room created to monitor supply of oxygen and posting of officers in oxygen refilling centres.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar, issued the directions during the hearing of PIL petitions on the issues that cropped up due to the pandemic since last year.

The Bench took into consideration a letter to the Chief Justice by S. Shivakumar, president of the Karnataka State Association of the Management of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences’ Institutions, stating that he himself has tested positive for COVID-19 and has experienced black marketing of Remdesivir and the shortage of oxygen supply and beds for COVID-19 patients.

The Bench directed the government to submit report of the technical advisory committee in a sealed cover after some of the petitioner have alleged that situation has become worse as government ignored the suggestion of the committee.

Meanwhile, the Bench directed the government to take measures to ensure separate queues, as far as possible, for pregnant women and senior citizens in laboratories providing RT-PCR test facility, and take action against those labs that fail to provide results within 24 hours.

Also, the Bench asked the government to consider evolving policy on whether pregnant women require a compulsory RT-PCR test for admission for hospital for delivery if they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

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