Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tripura High Court says state needs to conduct maximum Covid tests in orphanages, jails

The Court has directed the state government to file an affidavit stating what is the current requirement of oxygen per day of the State of Tripura.

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The Tripura High Court on Monday observed that the State needs to conduct maximum testing in state-run orphanages and jails. 

The division bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Subhasish Talapatra passed the order while hearing a suo-motu case on Covid-19 preparedness in the state-run orphanages and jails.  

The Court has directed the state government to file an affidavit stating what is the current requirement of oxygen per day of the State of Tripura.

The Advocate General under instructions stated that as per the oxygen supply policy formulated by the Government of India, the State quota of oxygen is 10 metric tonnes per month. He stated that this quantity is more than sufficient to cover not only the current requirement but any possible foreseeable future requirements. In the next affidavit the respondents may state what is the current requirement of oxygen per day.

He further stated that in addition such facilities being available in the hospitals at Agartala, the district headquarters are also being provided oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators. The work is going on to connect these hospitals with oxygen production plants from where piped oxygen would be provided. This of course might take some time

The Court held that,

“While taking note of these details provided by the State-administration in the said affidavit, we would like to touch on two aspects which require immediate attention which are, the high infection cases in State-run orphanages and jails.”

“The young children who are housed in these orphanages, need special protection. The State-administration would ensure maximum possible testing of these children, particularly considering the fact that in recent times number of positive cases reported in these orphanages is quite high. So far as jail inmates are concerned, the State which has restricted the movement of a citizen, of course by authority of law, has the onus to ensure that his health is not jeopardized on account of being kept confined. We are sure the State-administration shall take into account all the observations and directives of the committee specially constituted by the Supreme Court by its order dated March 23, 2020”, the Court observed.

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“One more aspect which we would like to bring to the notice of the State -administration is the requirement of round the clock helpline which is efficient, functional and provides all necessary information and support to the relatives of the patients who are in need. In particular, the State may think of devising a system by which the availability of hospital beds with and without oxygen supply and ventilators is constantly made available in public domain. This will help the relatives of the Covid patients who require urgent hospitalization and oxygen support to identify the proper place without loss of time. We are sure the Advocate General shall take up this issue with the State-administration and devise a plan as found appropriate”, the order reads.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on May 24, 2021.

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