The Delhi High Court on Thursday said the moral fabric of the public had been dismantled after taking note of illegal activities such as hoarding and black-marketing of supplies even as India deals with a severe second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, reported PTI.

The national Capital’s healthcare infrastructure has been in shambles ever since the second wave of Covid-19 led to an unprecedented rise in daily infections. Multiple hospitals in the city were forced to approach courts to ensure they received supplies of medical oxygen to save lives of Covid-19 patients.

“We are still not understanding the gravity of the situation and that is why we are not coming together,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said. “Which is why we are seeing instances of hoarding and black-marketing. Our moral fabric has been dismembered to a great extent.”

The court made the remarks after it was suggested that retired medical professionals along with nursing students could be called on to help with the Covid-19 situation wherever there was a shortage of personnel.

Senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan suggested to the court that a committee comprised of health experts under a public-private partnership model could assist the court, reported Live Law. “There are innumerable nursing bureaus which may be happy to help,” she said. “People I represent are in touch with some people who would be happy to help, but do not have the channel. This would augment facilities.”

Senior advocate and amicus curiae in the case Rajshekhar Rao said that having the infrastructure was not sufficient as medical personnel was also need to operate it. He added that there were only a few decision makers and there was a need to bring in more people at the ground-level.

The Delhi High Court was hearing a plea on the oxygen crisis in the Capital. It directed the government to ensure that all those who contracted Covid-19 should be provided the required medical facility. “In case they require medication, hospitalisation or an intensive care unit with or without ventilator, the same shall be provided,” it said.

“The existing medical infrastructure in the state is being completely exposed when it is put to test,” the judges said, adding that it was in shambles, according to Bar and Bench. “The obligation of the state to provide sufficient infrastructure to save lives of people can’t be understated. Even the most economically advanced nations have found their infrastructure to be lacking to deal with massive surge of cases.”

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, urged the court not to say the infrastructure was in shambles and added that “the issue was of oxygen”. But this irked the court.

“It’s not only oxygen,” the court told Mehra. “Now you are behaving like the ostrich with its head in the sand. When you defend this situation, then you are not rising above the politics. We always call a spade a spade.”

Mehra added that the government had planned to increase the number of beds as well as oxygen supplies, according to PTI. But in response, the court said: “It is not just oxygen. Is oxygen enough? If you have oxygen, do you have everything?”

To Mehra’s statement that many initiatives were in the pipeline, the court said: “Pipeline is pipeline. They are not there now.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the central government, the High Court and the Supreme Court for enuring that the Capital was received 730 metric tonnes of medical oxygen for the first time since the acute shortage began. He also hoped that the Capital will continue to receive this allotment.

“Due to the oxygen crisis, hospitals had to reduce their bed capacity...” Kejriwal said, according to ANI. “I request all hospitals to now reinstate their bed capacity. I hope we will receive 700 tons of oxygen every day. assure you that we will not let anyone die due to a shortage of oxygen in Delhi.”

Delhi on Thursday evening reported 19,133 new coronavirus cases, pushing the infection tally in the national Capital to 12,73,035 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The toll rose to 335 after 18,398 deaths were reported. The daily positivity rate in the city is 24.29%.

India on Thursday registered 4,12,262 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 2,10,77,410 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. This is the highest rise in daily cases and the second instance after May 1, when the count rose by more than 4 lakh. The toll climbed by 3,980 deaths to 23,01,68.

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