Taking note of the "gravity" of the coronavirus situation in the national capital, the Delhi High Court has directed the AAP government and the Centre to increase the number of beds and ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
The direction was issued by a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan after the Delhi government informed it that till June 9 there were 9,179 beds for COVID-19 patients in the city and out of that 4,914 were occupied and remaining were available.
The Delhi government told the bench that total 569 ventilators were available, out of which 315 were being utilised and remaining are available.
"Considering the gravity of the situation, we hereby direct the respondents (Centre and Delhi government) to increase the number of the beds for COVID-19 patients and also try to increase the number of ventilators so that all COVID patients in need can get these facilities," the bench said in its order which was passed on June 11 but made available on Saturday.
The court also said it expects all hospitals in the national capital to correctly upload the availability of real-time bed capacity data so that public may know in advance where to go if they are suffering from COVID-19.
The order came while disposing a joint plea moved by several lawyers, through advocate Mridul Chakravarty, seeking proper implementation of containment guidelines, especially in Defence Colony of South Delhi, and to ensure availability of adequate number of beds for COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Delhi.
Till Friday, June 12, the number of COVID-19 cases stood at 36,824 in Delhi with 1,214 people succumbing to the disease.
The plea by the lawyers was disposed of by the court after the Delhi government said that the affected areas in Defence Colony have already been declared as containment zones.
The Delhi government said they are strictly following all the guidelines and the directions issued by the Centre, which was represented by its standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, and other competent bodies.
The Delhi government also told the court it was also strictly observing the directions issued by the lieutenant governor.
Taking note of the submissions, the bench said it saw no reason to declare the whole of Defence Colony as a containment zone.
It noted that the Delhi government appeared to be taking steps to meet the difficulties of the public at large and that it was arranging beds from private hospitals in accordance with advice of experts.
The bench asked the Delhi government to consider the suggestion of Chakravarty that ready to move in government flats be used to house and treat COVID-19 patients.
The court said, "The world is presently going through COVID-19 pandemic affecting all sections of the society at large. In a matter like this, government should be given some degree of movement in joints.
"There cannot be any hard and fast mathematical solution to such a problem. In a situation like this, experimental based solutions are to be tested."
The bench further said the Centre and Delhi government appear to be aware of the fact that there is need of more beds for COVID-19 patients and therefore, they are issuing directions from time to time.
"Both the central government as well as state government are issuing directions looking to the present needs of the society.
"We expect from the respondents (Centre and Delhi government) that they shall scrupulously follow the guidance, directions and guidelines issued by the central government," the bench said.
It also directed concerned authorities to look into the recent suggestions given by the Delhi Medical Association on June 6 with regard to dealing with COVID-19 cases.
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