Rashid Paul

HC seeks complete details of infrastructure, logistics, medicines available for combating Covid-19 in J&K

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Asks govt to appoint nodal officers for oxygen supply to patients being treated at home

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday directed the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education to come out on affidavit, within two weeks, complete details of the infrastructure, logistics and medicines available for combating the 2nd Covid wave in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Hearing a matter on the crisis situation thrown by the COVID-19 epidemic, the court directed the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education to submit complete details of the number of COVID hospitals, both government and private, number of beds available, district-wise/city-wise, quantity of remdesivir allotted to the Union territory, the exact quantity of remdesivir received and used with the corresponding figures of the requirement.

The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar, said: “The court is conscious of the fact that government is taking due steps for controlling the pandemic and to provide full medical support.”

“The shortage of oxygen and medicines, including remdesivir, or of doctors or staff is not born out from any material on record,” the court said.

It asked the Health Secretary of the Union territory to come out on affidavit within two weeks giving a detailed report.

The court also directed the administration to nominate adequate number of nodal officers to ensure supply of oxygen to the patients undergoing treatment at their homes.

It directed the government to “nominate adequate number of nodal officers for each city and to publicize their full details with contact number etc so that such patients or their relatives may approach them with proper medical prescription for the supply of oxygen”.

Once the nodal officers are approached they shall take immediate and adequate steps to ensure the supply of oxygen where it is found to be needed without causing any harassment to any one, read the directions.

On the issue of “non availability” of an infectious disease expert in J&K, the bench directed “the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education is expected to explore the number of such specialists available throughout the country and the possibility, if any of them is willing to serve the Union Territory, if such service of an expert is genuinely needed”.

Sunil Sethi, a senior counsel told the court that “there is short supply of remdesivir and deficiency of doctors and nursing staff as well as the oxygen to treat the Covid patients”.

He insisted that the government be called upon to provide complete statistics in regard to the above items and make operational the oxygen plants which are under erection for some time.

Abhinav Sharma, another senior counsel highlighted “the shortage of ventilators and submitted that the government is not disclosing the correct figures but the fact is that ventilators in sufficient numbers are not available”.

The Advocate General in response filed an official statement saying there is adequate supply of the medical oxygen and medicines to fight the pandemic.

According to the statement “three oxygen generation plants of 3166 LMP and 6 oxygen plants of 6590 LMP are functional in the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir respectively. Besides four plants of 4000 LMP and 17 plants of 30000 LMP would also be made functional within 15 days in the two provinces”.

The statement claimed availability of 1354 and 1708 total 3062 Covid dedicated beds in the province of Jammu and Kashmir respectively and the number of beds with oxygen being 1127 and 1597 total 2724 in the two regions of the union territory.

The number of ICU beds with ventilators according to the official account is 227 and 111 total 338 in the twin provinces. It said tele-consultation is also available for all Covid patients.

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