COVID 19 | A.P. HC | Court takes up matter concerning non-availability of WHO-approved Personal Protection Equipment in a Medical College; Information sought regarding PPEs, isolation facility, social distancing at the hospital, etc.

Andhra Pradesh High Court, Amaravati: A Division Bench of Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari, CJ and M. Satyanarayana Murthy, J. addressed a Public Interest Litigation with regard to non-cooperation of staff at ASRAM Medical College, Eluru due to non-availability of WHO-approved Personal Protection Equipment.

In the present matter, it was reported that for about 34 patients were brought to ASRAM Medical College, Eluru. Out of those patients, 6 were found to be positive for Corona Virus – COVID 19 and the remaining are suspected to have contracted the virus as per the news item.

On perusal of the above, Court’s concern is that the availability of WHO-approved Personal Protection Equipment for doctors, Para-medical staff in the hospital on duty and treatment facility to the citizens.

The stated news item depicts the staff went on leave or was non-cooperative due to non-availability of PPE.

Court further observed that, directions sought against Union of India to ensure availability of PPE and Hazardous Material Suits as per the recommendations of WHO.

Government Pleader, C. Sumon stated that during the hearing 16 PPEs have been provided to the hospital and staff, however allegation made in the news item as stated above is not correct and patients who have been brought to the hospital are being treated in a rightful manner.

Assistant Solicitor General is also requested to intervene in the present issue.

Court asked the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Eluru and Advocate YMSRN Surya Teja to visit the said hospital and supply the following information:

  • How many patients admitted in the hospital by this time
  • Details of the ward where such patients have been admitted and whether isolation facility is available
  • Who are the Doctors and Para-medical staff on duty to provide medical and other necessary item
  • Whether the patients have been duly treated specifying the prescription and other precaution
  • Whether the Government and the Dean in-charge is providing due care to those Doctors and Para-medical staff as specified in the WHO guidelines by changing their duties and providing them isolation
  • Whether the Corona-positive patients are maintaining distance
  • While submitting the aforesaid information, it be also clarified as to who are the Doctors and the Para-medical staff who were on duty at the time of admission of Corona-positive patients and suspect patients and also the who are the Doctors and Para-medical staff now on duty and treating them

Bench parting with its decision stated that government response in the present matter is also required with regard to the place from where the patients are hailing from and their medical, traveling history. [In Re. Corona Virus-COVID-19 PANDEMIC, 2020 SCC OnLine AP 37, decided on 01-04-2020]

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