The Supreme Court on Friday said that the Centre should take the lead in dealing with the coronavirus situation in the country, as mere guidelines without their strict enforcement will not be enough, News18 reported.

“Eighty per cent of the people are not wearing masks, rest of them have it hanging from their jaws,” the Supreme Court said, according to News18. “Things are going from bad to worse...The central government must also see all states are following the SOPs [standard operating procedures].”

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah was hearing a suo motu case on the Covid-19 situation.

Meanwhile, the Centre in an affidavit submitted to the court on Friday also said that the Delhi government had taken “no effective preventive steps” to check the spread of the virus, forcing the Union government to step in, reported NDTV.

“Despite knowing that festivities and winter might lead to a surge, the Delhi government did not do enough,” the affidavit alleged, according to NDTV. “No timely measures were taken to increase ICU beds or testing capacity. Those in home isolation were not properly traced and private hospitals also disregarded the discharge policy.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court had directed the governments of Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Assam to submit status reports within two days on the coronavirus situation in their respective states.

The Centre, in its affidavit said that as a result of the Delhi government’s failure to deal with the pandemic, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had to review the situation and ready a new plan on November 15.

Fire in Rajkot hospital

Separately, the Supreme Court on Friday also took cognisance of a fire incident in which five patients in an intensive care unit ward of a Covid-19 hospital in Gujarat’s Rajkot died, reported NDTV. The court sought a report from the state government on the issue. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, assured the bench that the Union Home Secretary will convene a meeting latest by Saturday and issue directions on fire safety in government hospitals across India.