Amid the surging number of positive cases of Coronavirus in the country, a petition has been filed in Supreme Court seeking directions to the government of India to increase facilities for screening and also frame guidelines for testing through private agencies. The petition has also sought to think over the pricing and modalities of the testing for COVID-19 patients.
The petitioner Jerryl Banait with the help of his lawyer Sunil Fernandes has highlighted the importance of the safety of the first responders and frontline warriors such as the doctors, the medical staff, the paramedics etc who face the infected patients and have high chances of getting infected. Banait highlighted the need to make protective equipment available for the health workers in metros and in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. The petitioner shed light on the urgent need to provide World Health Organization (WHO) graded protective gear such as Hazmat suits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) including sterile medical gloves, apparels, masks, goggles, face shields, and respirators.
"As there is no specific vaccination to prevent or cure COVID-19, it is imperative for doctors to be in constant contact with patients, so as to monitor them on regular intervals and observe their symptoms. In the absence of appropriate protective gear, doctors put themselves at the risk of being affected by the virus in the discharge of their duties," the plea said.
"It is the duty of the states to ensure graded protective gear to doctors and other welfare facilities, so as to aid them to combat the virus," it said, adding, "In the case, where the hospitals and health centres are not provided WHO standardized masks and gowns, medical staff mortality will exponentially increase and the situation will spiral out of control in the absence of sufficient medical assistance."
Fernandes aims to serve a copy of the petition to the solicitor general Tushar Mehta via the electronic medium in order to get a date of hearing at the earliest. The petitioner has also requested the solicitor general to put forward the issues mentioned in the petition before the government. The Supreme Court has insisted that the petition be listed for hearing on the first available date when the court convenes next week through video conferencing due to the lockdown situation.
(With PTI inputs)
(Image source - PTI)