The Centre has issued directives to ensure that medical professionals, paramedics, sanitation personnel and ambulances are able to move freely during the ongoing lockdown.
In a letter to chief secretaries of all states Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the there were constraints in rendering COVID and non-COVID medical services and to continue to function without any hindrances, should ensure the opening of all private clinics, nursing homes and labs with all their medical professional and staff.
“I would like to emphasise that all State/UT Governments should ensure that their field officials allow smooth movement of all medical professionals, nurses, para-medical, sanitation personnel and ambulances and ensure opening of all private clinics, nursing homes and labs with all their medical professional and staff,” Bhalla said in a letter.
“Such movement must also be facilitated inter-State, whenever required,” he added.
Bhalla said there have been reports of many private clinics and nursing homes not being allowed to open at several places. The functioning of these medical facilities, which supplement the regular medical infrastructure, and relieve the burden on hospitals, is also crucial.
There have been reports of health care services being affected in some places including in the national capital after neighbouring states closed down inter-state borders and barred movement of medical workers.
“As you are aware, the services of the medical and para-medical staff are required urgently in meeting the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the existing staff, apart from this duty, also have to render normal responsibilities such as conducting immunisation programmes, handling the onset of vector and other seasonal diseases and meeting other non-COVID emergencies,” said the Union Home Secretary.
“In such a scenario, any restriction on the movement of medical professionals and paramedical staff can lead to severe constraints in rendering COVID and non-COVID medical services. As such, ensuring the unhindered movement of all such medical professionals is essentials for meeting public health requirements and saving human lives,” it added.
The letter further pointed out that private clinics and nursing homes are also reported to have not been allowed to be open. “I would urge all States and UTs to ensure that such clinics and nursing homes continue to function without any hindrances,” said Bhalla.
-India Legal Bureau