The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday asked the Vijay Rupani-led state government why many Covid-19 patients were unable to get admitted to hospitals if there were enough beds available, PTI reported.

The state government told the High Court that only 55,783 of 79,944 beds were occupied at hospitals and other medical facilities. Manisha Shah, appearing for the Gujarat government, made the submission on a suo motu case taken up by the High Court on the Covid-19 situation in the state.

During the hearing, a bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia noted complaints that beds were not available. “The figures shared by you suggest that even designated hospitals have vacant beds,” the bench said. “[If that is true] then why are people running around, finding sources and recommendations for getting hospitals beds and treatment?”

The High Court also said the state’s residents have raised concerns that 108 ambulances, part of emergency response services, were taking considerable time to pick up patients in a critical condition. It also asked why severely ill patients were not being admitted in government hospitals if they came in private vehicles instead of the 108 ambulances.

The Gujarat government counsel said that even though there were enough beds available in facilities close to the patients’ homes, many residents want to get admitted to specific hospitals, resulting in full occupancies.

In an affidavit, the state government told the High Court that it was setting up a Covid-19 care hospital in Ahmedabad with 900 beds and oxygen facilities, reported Live Law.

The affidavit also said that it has asked all private testing laboratories to enhance their testing capacity for which the state government had lent its support to maximise their output. “As on date [Tuesday], total 98 Covid-19 testing laboratories are functioning, out of which 43 are government and 55 are private laboratories,” it said. “At present every district in the state has RT-PCR [reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction] testing facility, either through RT-PCR machines, or TrueNAT [a chip-based, battery-operated RT-PCR kit] and CBNAT [Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test used to detect tuberculosis] machines. The RT-PCR reports from each of these machines are of equal efficacy.”

The lawyer also informed the High Court that the state government has an adequate oxygen supply. Shah added that a special control room had been set up at the Chief Minister’s Office to monitor the oxygen supply.

On the availability of medicines, the affidavit said there was a short supply of antiviral drug remdesivir, but the state government is now managing to procure approximately 20,000 vials of injections per day.

High Courts pull up state governments

Apart from the Gujarat HC, several other High Courts have pulled up the state governments on their handling of the coronavirus situation. On Monday, the Delhi High Court had voiced concerns about the surge in coronavirus infections in the national Capital. “It is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse.”

The High Court had also directed the Delhi government to use money from the Building Workers Act Fund to provide food for migrant workers during the six-day lockdown in the Capital. Hearing the same plea on Tuesday, the Delhi HC had asked why the Centre was waiting till April 22 to ban the industrial use of oxygen amid an acute shortage.

The Telangana High Court on Monday had given a 48-hour ultimatum to the state government to decide whether it will impose a lockdown to contain the rise in Covid-19 cases. A day later, the state government imposed a night curfew till April 30, reported Mint.

The Allahabad High Court on Monday criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for its handling of the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and imposed a lockdown in Lucknow, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Kanpur and Gorakhpur till April 26. However, the state government had refused to follow the order and moved the Supreme Court against it. A day later, the Supreme Court stayed the High Court order but directed the state government to report to the High Court on the steps taken so far to deal with the pandemic and the measures the Adityanath-led government will take within one week.

On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand government had issued directions to the state government to combat the second wave of Covid-19, including providing mobile testing facilities in the hills and interior areas of the state. It also asked the government to increase the number of Covid-19 dedicated hospitals, reported The New Indian Express.

Meanwhile, India on Wednesday reported 2.95 lakh new cases and 2,023 deaths in the last 24 hours. This is an unprecedented figure since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country now has 1,56,16,130 cases and the toll rose to 1,82,553.

Follow today’s updates on the Covid-19 crisis here

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Coronavirus figures given by Gujarat not matching actual number of cases, says HC