As India grapples with the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court on Monday requested the Central and State Governments to consider imposing lockdown to control the ongoing health crisis.
“We would seriously urge the Central and State Governments to consider imposing a ban on mass gatherings and super spreader events. They may also consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare,” said the Supreme Court.
It also ordered the Central Government to redraft its initiatives and protocols, including the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, essential drugs, beds, and oxygen.
“Emergency oxygen stocks shall be created within next four days and is to be replenished on a day to day basis, in addition to an existing allocation of oxygen supply to States,” SC ordered.
Moreover, the apex court directed the Centre to compile a national policy on admissions to hospitals within two weeks, saying that no patient must be restricted from admission into hospitals or purchase of essential drugs for lack of local residential proof.
“Different states and local authorities follow their own protocols. Differing standards for admission in different hospitals across the nation leads to chaos and uncertainty. The situation cannot brook any delay,” it said.
“Accordingly, we direct the Central Government to frame a policy in this regard, in exercise of its statutory powers under the Disaster Management Act, which will be followed nationally. The presence of such a policy shall ensure that no one in need is turned away from a hospital, due to no fault of their own,” SC added.
A three-member apex court bench, comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice L Nageswara Rao, and Justice Ravindra Bhat also highlighted the severity of the socio-economic impact of a lockdown on people, especially on the marginalized communities. So, the top court instructed the Centre to make arrangements beforehand to cater to the needs of these communities, in case lockdown is imposed.
The orders from Supreme Court come as each day now brings a new world record in daily cases, with India reporting more than 400,000 on Saturday and more than 390,000 on Sunday. The nation has been reporting more than 3 lakh cases for the past few weeks.
In the last 24 hours, India reported 370,059 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking total active COVID cases to 3,419,032. Meanwhile, 3,422 people died due to coronavirus, taking the total death toll in the country from the pandemic to 218,959.
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