Prayer of the petitioner
The petitioner prayed for two directions from this Court:
- To allow more private hospitals in Delhi to treat COVID-19 patients.
- To allow a greater number of pathological laboratories in Delhi.
Arguments of the Petitioner
Firstly, the counsel submitted that there are approximately 10,000 patients of COVID-19. Additionally, he pointed out that there are not enough hospitals for providing medical facilities. Further, the counsel argued that the state has designated many Government Hospitals as COVID Hospitals.
However, it is necessary that the state should also identify private hospitals as COVID Hospitals. This will help in an increased number of hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients. The counsel submitted that the Delhi Government has granted permission to a few private hospitals. These hospitals alone will not be able to cope up with the entire load. Respondent No. 2 has given permission to some private pathological labs. The petitioner submits that these facilities will not be able to test all COVID-19 cases.
Arguments of the Respondents
Counsel representing the Centre submits that the relief in the present petition directs against Respondent No.2. Adding, she stated that the centre has laid down the norms for declaring a hospital as a COVID hospital. All the State Governments are under a mandate to follow the same. She submits that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has laid down guidelines. Further, these guidelines are for permitting private pathological laboratories to undertake testing for coronavirus.
Learned counsel for respondent No. 2 stated that he has received instructions from the Directorate of Health Services. Secondly, the instructions pertain to revised guidelines for home isolation. Self-isolation is prescribed only if patients have adequate facilities at their homes. These guidelines are for very mild/pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India issued them on 10.5.2020. Hospitals have to admit such patients if symptoms become serious. Meanwhile, the existing number of beds in all the COVID Hospitals is about 3150. This number excludes those in self-isolation. In addition, the counsel for the Centre states that there are 13 Government pathological labs and 15 private labs in Delhi. Above all, these labs have received a green signal to test COVID-19 suspected persons.
The bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad decided the matter. The bench opined that the matter does not need any kind of interference. Yet, the court directed the Centre and State Government to keep a tab on the number of cases of COVID-19. Hence, the court has asked them to gradually increase the facilities at Hospitals and pathological laboratories.
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