Supreme Court Asks Govt To Impose Lockdown; SBI Says 2nd Wave Peak In Next 14 Days
The Supreme Court has made suggestions to state govts with regards to handling of the Coronavirus crisis.
Consider Lockdown But With Accommodations
The SC has recommended imposing bans on mass gatherings and to prohibit super spreader events where hundreds and thousands gather in confined spaces.
Local govts have been asked to consider imposing lockdowns to tackle the present health emergency.
The apex court has taken cognisance of socio-economic impacts of such lockdowns especially on vulnerable communities.
To that effect the administrations must take their needs into account before imposing any restrictions.
Cannot Deny Hospital Admission, National Policy Needed
Noting that the foremost challenge of Covid patients is of getting a bed, the SC has forbidden any hospital or medical facility from denying treatment to a person due to lack of ID or residence proof.
It was observed that since local authorities follow their own protocols with regards to hospital admissions, it creates confusion and unnecessary delay which patients cannot afford.
The Centre has been directed to construct a national policy on hospital admissions by making use of its powers under the Disaster Management Act with a deadline of 2 weeks.
The Centre has also been instructed to work with state govts in the next 4 days to create buffer stocks of oxygen and to make sure that supply is not obstructed even in unforeseen situations.
The location of these stocks should also be decentralised.
No Clampdown On Online Content
The SC has acknowledged another critical lapse by the govt with regards to removal of online content that is critical to the govt response to the 2nd wave of the pandemic.
The court has promised “coercive exercise of jurisdiction” in cases where social media posts seeking medical help are maliciously targeted.
The bench has said that in such a time of national crisis, free flow of information should be uninterrupted along with the voices of the citizens.
The bench has also strongly objected to the flagging of online posts and individuals making them on presumptions of “falsity” .
The SC also directed local authorities to crack down on people selling Covid drugs such as Remdesivir and medical grade oxygen at overpriced rates.
SBI: Active Caseload Peak Yet To Come
SBI has predicted that the peak of the pandemic’s 2nd wave in India could come around mid-May with the number of active cases standing at 36 lakhs.
It has further observed that there has been a 14.5% fall of recovery rates which now stands at 82.5%.
At the time of the peak of the wave the recovery rate could fall further to 77.8%.
15% Population Vaccinated Key To Stabilisation
The nation can achieve some progress with its vaccination pace by October when potentially 1048 million doses can be administered, 15% of the population can be fully vaccinated and 63% will have received their first shot.
It is a significant milestone when 15% of the populace is fully vaccinated (after receiving 2 doses) since stabilisation of infections has been observed in other countries’ experience.
Frontline Workers Need Help Too
All frontline workers including those in medical fields, ambulance drivers, crematorium workers etc have been acknowledged by the SC for their heroic and mighty efforts.
Being at the frontline in a war-like situation can take its toll mentally and physically.
Several frontline workers have reported deteriorating mental health at the face of numerous tragedies on a daily basis.
The SC has said that it is necessary to return the favor and to take their wellbeing into account as well with concrete actions and not just rhetoric.