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Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Nagpur district, a division bench of Justices – Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote – of the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court ordered setting up a panel – Nagpur COVID-19 Committee – to monitor issues pertaining to COVID-19 in Nagpur district.
The bench of judges was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) taken up suo moto (on its own) in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic in India. "We are witnessing thousands of persons testing positive for COVID-19 not only in Nagpur, but also in other cities of Maharashtra and the whole health machinery is under tremendous stress," the court said.
The court said that private hospitals in Nagpur were full and only a few beds were available in government and civic-run hospitals. "Health authorities are also experiencing a dearth of doctors and nursing staff. All these factors have created an emergency, which is required to be addressed comprehensively by the authorities working in the field," the bench said.
The court said a new committee must be set up with Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Nagpur, Dean of the Government Medical College and Hospital and deans of other state and civic-run hospitals in Nagpur.
The committee should be headed by the Nagpur Divisional Commissioner and with the District Collector as its Member Secretary. The court said panel should chalk out a comprehensive plan and strategy to handle the situation of COVID-19 in the district.
Also, committee members should also mention and tackle the difficulties faced by health workers and private hospitals. "The committee shall deliberate over the present scenario, chalk out a comprehensive plan and strategy for tackling the present and future situation of the pandemic in Nagpur," the court said.
As per the court, the committee should also consider addressing complaints regarding admitting non-serious or non-deserving patients to COVID-19 hospitals including private ones.