SC takes note of deaths in fire at Covid hospital in Rajkot, seeks report from Gujarat

New Delhi, November 27

The Supreme Court Friday took cognizance of the fire incident in a COVID-19 hospital at Rajkot, in which several patients have died and sought a report from Gujarat government on the issue.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, assured the bench that the Union home secretary will convene meeting latest by Saturday and issue directions on fire safety in government hospitals across India.

Five coronavirus patients were killed after a fire broke out in the ICU of a designated COVID-19 hospital in Gujarat’s Rajkot in the early hours of Friday, state Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said.

Twenty-six other patients undergoing treatment at the hospital were rescued and shifted to other facilities, he told reporters here.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and M R Shah, while taking note of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, said that states have to rise to the occasion and be above politics to deal with the pandemic.

It is high time that strict measures are taken to implement the policy, guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to contain the surge of coronavirus cases nationwide, the bench said.

Mehta told the bench that the ongoing COVID-19 wave appears to be harsher than before and ten states are currently contributing 77 per cent of the total positive cases.

The bench observed that strict measures are needed to deal with the situation and posted the matter for further hearing on December 1.

The top court on November 23 had said that the COVID-19 pandemic has “worsened” in Delhi and gone “out of control” in Gujarat and had directed the Centre and all states to apprise it within two days of the steps taken to contain the situation nationwide.

The situation was likely to worsen in December and all states have to be ready to “combat” it, the top court had said while expressing concern over the spurt in coronavirus cases across the country.

It had said the court was of the view that immediate steps are required to be taken by all the states as well as by the Centre.

The bench was hearing the matter in which it had taken cognizance regarding the need for proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in the hospitals. PTI



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