Bombay High Court Issues Further COVID-19 Protocols for Goa Travelers

Facts:

The judgment was given by a bench of M.S. Sonak & Smt. M.S. Jawalkar, JJ., came into effect from 10th May giving time to the State administration to announce and advertise the same. The bench directed the State Government to immediately notify and publicize this requirement through the usual channels so that travellers are put to effective notice about the same.

Responding to a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions for the State to ensure sufficient supply of oxygen beds, medicines for COVID for all patients and also ensuring the safety of doctors and medical personnel to avoid harassment and violence in the COVID-19 wards.

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Arguments before the Court:

The first petition was moved by the South Goa Advocates Association seeking directions on the Respondent authorities to ensure adequate supply of oxygen beds, COVID-19 medicines for all patients in Goa, and also for ensuring security measures for doctors and medical personnel to avoid cases of harassment and violence against them in COVID-19 wards.

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The second petition was moved by activists Armando Gonsalves and Shruti Chaturvedi seeking a common platform for information on bed availability, ICUs, and oxygen in the state and imposition of a lockdown.

Observations by the Court:

The Court observed that a debt of gratitude was owed to all the medical practitioners, it said that “the minimum that we collectively owe to these healthcare professionals is security.” The Court thus observed that a message must go out loud and clear to all the patients and their relatives that there will be “zero tolerance” for any form of violence against the healthcare professionals.

Court’s Orders:

The Order of the Court stated, “Therefore, by way of an interim Order, we direct the State Administration to ensure that no persons are permitted entry into the State unless they possess a negativity certificate obtained within 72 hours from the time they seek entry into the State. This will not prevent the State Government from formulating a protocol to deal with the issues of essential supplies and the procedure for entry of the persons involved in essential supplies. This Protocol should however provide necessary safeguards to ensure that such persons are not COVID positive at the time of entry into the State.”

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The bench further issued new directions for the security and protection of healthcare professionals, medical infrastructure, and supply of oxygen to the state.

Click here to read the judgement.


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