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Delhi High Court asks Delhi govt to reconsider reservation of ICU beds for Covid-19 patients

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Justice Navin Chawla of the Delhi High Court asked the Delhi government to review its order of reserving 80% ICU beds in the 33 private hospitals in the city considering the present situation of Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Court had turned down the request of Delhi government counsel to list the matter after 10 days. Delhi government counsel Sanjoy Ghose appraised the court that the order to reserve 80% ICU beds in 33 hospitals would be reviewed on Decemebr 17 and therefore the matter should be listed after that. But the Court said 10 days cannot be granted to review the order and it should be done immediately. 

The Delhi government had reviewed the situation on a meeting held on December 7 and found that occupancy of COVID ICU beds in the large reputed private hospitals is still on the higher side. “Out of 1,531 COVID ICU beds available in the 33 hospitals, which were directed to reserve 80% of total ICU beds for COVID, it has been found that 1,220 COVID ICU beds are occupied which makes to 80% of the total beds reserved,” the minutes read.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Maninder Singh and advocate Sanyam Khetarpal, told the court that several ICU beds in various government as well private hospitals are lying vacant. Taking the Delhi corona app, Singh told the court that while 534 ICU beds with ventilators are lying vacant, another 1,038 ICU beds without ventilators are also unoccupied. They opposed the request for posting the matter after December 17.

The Court has asked the Delhi government to review its order by December 14 and listed the matter for further hearing on December 15. 

The Court was hearing the petition filed by Association of Healthcare Providers, which had challenged the orders passed by the Delhi government by which it had directed private hospitals to reserve 80% of their total ICU/HDU beds for Covid patients. The petitioners contended the order has been issued without any discussion with private hospitals and without understanding the current demand-supply situation of critical care beds.

The order passed by the Delhi government was stayed by the high court on September 22. Later on October 9, the Delhi government had challenged the stay order before the division bench of the Delhi High Court which had refused to vacate the stay. 

Following which, the Delhi Government had approached the Supreme Court against these two orders of September 22 and October 9. The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the HC order, staying the AAP government’s instruction to private hospitals.

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On November 12, a division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad had vacated the stay considering the increase in the number of cases in the city till the matter being heard by the Single Judge (Justice Navin Chawla) on November 26.

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