The Kerala High Court on Thursday rebuked the state government and asked it to take all possible measures to ensure protection of healthcare workers from attacks, reported Live Law.

“We are not happy with the kind of attacks that are going on in the community of doctors and caregivers and we do not know what the [state] government is doing about it,” the court said.

The court acknowledged that its observations were not made in direct relation to the case it was hearing.

A division bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice Kauser Edappagath had taken up a plea on fixing the rates for Covid-19 treatment at private hospitals, according to The Times of India.

“This is not something that comes directly from this case but when we are dealing with the health sector as a whole, especially in Covid-19 times,” the High Court said, according to Bar and Bench. “And Kerala does not appear to be facing any recession at the moment, cases are actually going up. The relevance of this bench may continue for some more time.”

The High Court said that unless the healthcare sector was allowed to operate smoothly and with the autonomy that it needs, then it would not be possible to “to rein in the deleterious consequences of the pandemic and other-related diseases”.

The court noted that healthcare workers “are the most vital and valuable” part of the medical system.

“We are therefore certain that the government and other stakeholders, including the district collectors and district superintendents of police must now ensure that such events and instances are averted in the future and quick and swift action [is] taken if any such report is made,” the court said, reported Bar and Bench.

The state’s counsel said that the Kerala Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property Act) mandates strict penalties for those indulging in violence against doctors and nurses, according to Live Law. The punishment also includes non-bailable offences.

The case will be taken up again on September 9.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Thursday reviewed the steps taken by the Kerala government to stop the spread of coronavirus infections. The Union Ministry of Health has said that the steady surge is a cause for concern.

On Thursday evening, Kerala reported 30,007 cases of Covid-19, accounting for 67% of the 44,658 infections reported across India. The positivity rate stood at 18.03%. With 162 deaths, the state’s toll now stands at 20,134, while there are 1,81,209 active cases.

On Wednesday, Kerala reported 31,445 cases. It was the first instance since May 20 when the state logged more than 30,000 infections.