Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, CJ and Arijit Banerjee, J.noted the following while addressing the present petition,
“…push forward the efforts taken by this nation including the State of West Bengal in fighting the pandemic COVID19 which is a matter of grave concern for all stakeholders and the entire citizenry of this nation.”
Petitioner sought direction to the respondent authorities to make widespread and rapid testing among the population of West Bengal for COVID 19 for early detection and prevention of further spread.
Further direction on the respondent authorities is sought for taking immediate step to convert Calcutta Medical College for use only to house COVID19 patients and also for improving health infrastructure by arranging sufficient test kit and/or protection measures for doctors to make it compatible to combat the present pandemic situation.
Adding to the above, petitioner also sought direction to ensure supply of food materials to all sections of marginalized people including migrated workers, pregnant women, young mothers and children.
Petitioner sought an order from the Court directing the State to prepare and submit before the Court a plan for rapid testing and/or increasing the amount of testing for COVID 19 among the population in West Bengal
Bench stated that while the Government has issued advisory to the Health Authorities in the State regarding testing of samples as per ICMR’s latest testing protocol, it tends to indicate that more than 300 samples are tested daily.
“…it is necessary that the official respondents give a deeper look to the requirement of more number of samples being collected and subjected to tests on war footing.”
Court also stated that, having regard to the fact that the ICMR testing protocol and WHO guidelines require adherence to effective screening on war footing, Bench needs to be told by the State as to the acceleration of the rate of sample collection and testing which is being obtained on the aforesaid basis.
State Government is expected to place a report on the following:
quarantine, managing the COVID19 cases, that is to say the doctors, nurses, paramedical persons and the other health service oriented persons as well as those coming into regular close contact with such situation, there is deficit in facilities for their protection and safety from the point of view of health.
WHO and ICMR being expert authorities in the field, their guidelines and advisories are required to be followed by all stakeholders.
Matter to be posted on 23-04-2020. [Dr Faud Halim v. State of W.B., 2020 SCC OnLine Cal 738 , decided on 17-04-2020]