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Gujarat High Court slams govt for “taking nCoV for granted”

Called it out for not preparing for the pandemic’s 2nd and 3rd waves; asked to submit detailed report on beds available for patients

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court pulled up the state government on Monday for “lowering its guard and taking the COVID-19 pandemic for granted.” The court also asserted that it was one of the reasons why there was a spike in cases for the past month. It strongly advised the state not to paint a rosy picture of the situation when in reality, it was not.

A first division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia had initiated suo motu proceedings on Sunday. During the emergency hearing convened on Monday, the bench acknowledged the state government’s failure in preparing for the second and third waves of the virus. It also pointed out inadequate testing facilities, unavailability of hospital beds for patients and shortage of the Remdesivir injectable drug.

The bench also pointed out that “unless the chain of infection is not broken, this pandemic will never come to an end. Earlier, people were afraid to venture outside their homes but now they have become careless.” Although the state has been doing its best to curtail the virus, the court was unhappy with the results, and expressed its desire to “correct the situation.”

“People think that they are at God’s mercy. The situation is quite different from what the government is claiming, which is that everything is under control. But, the reality is contrary to it. There is a ‘trust deficit’ among people,” stated the HC bench, during the hearing held via video conferencing.

The court also questioned the state about its control of the Remdesivir drug supply. “The medicine is available, but it is being controlled by the government. Why can’t people buy it? Make sure it is available everywhere. There is no shortage of Remdesivir. Everything is available. We want results, and not reasons,” said the court. 

Commenting on the issue of COVID-19 tests, it remarked that laboratories were taking days to issue RT-PCR test results to people. “Earlier, the RT-PCR test results used to be issued within 8 to 12 hours. Now, it takes almost five days. And that is for the common man. For us, this process may be sped up or we can jump the line. But, for the common man, it takes anything from five to seven days to get a test report,” noted the bench.

Pulling up the government for lack of infrastructure, the court observed, “(The situation has worsened) because you (the government) did not set up the required infrastructure.”

The bench also did not accept the state government’s claim that enough beds were available for COVID-19 patients. It asked the government to submit a detailed report by April 14 and kept the matter for further hearing on April 15.

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