The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the State government to explain how it plans to ensure COVID-19 safety norms such as social distancing and wearing of masks are followed strictly during the upcoming festival season at public places such as markets.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi issued the direction during the hearing of PIL petitions related to COVID-19 health management.
Earlier, it was pointed out to the Bench by the counsel for a petitioner that as already a large section of the public was not wearing masks in public places, a similar attitude during congregations during the festival season might result in a greater spread of COVID-19.
The Bench directed the government to submit its policy on reserving 50% beds in private hospitals for COVID-19 patients. This direction was issued after noting that the data submitted by the government indicated that there were only 44,848 beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in both public and private hospitals across the State.
As there was a confusion over whether the data on beds reserved for COVID-19 patients was complete, the Bench asked the government to look into the numbers again. It pointed out that the number of beds available was low given the steep rise in the number of COVID-19 patients last fortnight. The Bench also asked the government to state whether any exercise has been carried out recently on the requirement of beds as per the mandate for preparedness under the Disaster Management Act based on the projection of COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike informed the Bench that 62 of the 380 hospitals designated for COVID-19 had been inspected by special teams set up by the monitoring committee so far and that inspections would be carried out at the rate of two to four hospitals every day.