Goa bench of the Bombay HC has found that the efforts of the government to contain the spread of and pandemic are satisfactory.
The PIL has been filed by two law graduates regarding medical facilities and the preparations to tackle with the situation of COVID-19 pandemic. They issues raised in the petition are:
- Personal protective equipment for doctors and medical staff;
- Hospital isolation and facility quarantine;
- Testing facilities.
Whereas, AG Mr. D. Pangam submitted a detailed response signed by Secretary (Health) that has addressed many other issues accept the issues raised by the law graduates.
Justice M.S. Sonak has been informed that with regards to the preparedness in view of COVID-19 outbreak various steps has been taken including awareness and training programme at the Goa Medical College (GMC); information helplines for COVID-19 and Mobile Apps made available for the benefits of the general public. It has also been mentioned that government is also planning to setup a “task force” and “war room”. Further, a State Control Room has also been established to deal with the aspect of interstate travel, medical assistance and essential supply of medicines.
The response submitted by Mr. Pangam also acknowledged that the safety of the doctors and staff is of paramount importance and steps are being taken to provide full personal protective equipment to the doctors and staff, which includes but it is not restricted of providing necessary masks, hand sanitizers etc.
Mr. Pangam said that “all doctors and staff have been provided with chemo prophylaxis with over 17,000 tablets hydroxylchloroquine as per the ICMR guidelines to protect them from developing any serious COVID complications.”
In relation to the hospital isolation and quarantine facilities the court observed that “the ESI hospital at Margao has already been designated as COVID-19 hospital. This hospital is a 100 bedded hospital and every effort is benig taken to equip this hospital for necessary facilities…and isolation facilities have been made available at listed private hospitals.”
The court has also been informed that orders have been placed for the procurement of almost 200 additional ventilators. In relation to the issue of testing facility, earlier there were no testing facilities in Goa and the samples were sent to Pune and Mumbai. However, there has been a recent development regarding the issue and a virology laboratory has now been established to test the samples of COVID-19 at GMC, there are kits available to test about 400 cases and order has already been placed for additional kits.
The court while disposing of the petition, stated that “…from the material placed before this Court, it is apparent that the State and its authorities are alive to their responsibilities and making efforts to combat this pandemic.”
-India Legal Bureau