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The Court also asked the state to clarify the time taken for testing COVID-19 samples.
The Karnataka High Court yesterday sought a clarification from the state government regarding the protocol adopted for admitting COVID-19 patients into hospitals.
This explanation was sought by the Bench while dealing with two letter petitions underlining the lack of medical facilities for COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
When the matter was taken for hearing on Friday, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay S Oka stated that every citizen should be informed how he/she could search for hospitals if tested positive for COVID-19.
"It must start with a common man who goes to a private facility and gets tested positive...Is there any protocol available where he can go to a particular hospital for COVID-19 treatment?", the Bench queried.
This apart, the Bench raised asked Additional Advocate General Dhyan Chinnappa the options that were available to a person who went alone to get himself/herself checked for COVID-19 symptoms.
In response, AAG Chinnappa submitted that such a person could dial 108. Further, he informed the Court that such persons could go to any private hospital where there are over 19,000 beds available.
The Court was also informed that there are four dedicated COVID hospitals and sixteen dedicated COVID healthcare centres in Bangalore.
On the point of COVID-19 testing, the Court asked the state to clarify the time taken for testing COVID-19 samples.
"Time taken for the tests are very crucial", the Bench remarked.
As the hearing progressed, the Court also asked whether any scientific data was available regarding the spread of COVID-19 from dead bodies of patients that succumbed to the virus.
The Court opined that "fear psychosis" in this regard was one of the prominent reasons for people to treat dead bodies without dignity and respect.
Turning to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Court asked,
"What is the procedure that you (BBMP) follow once you are informed that there is a COVID-19 patient? How much time will you (BBMP) take to reach such patients? That is another crucial part. Forget about persons who can afford to go to hospitals directly."
The BBMP counsel replied that their staff would reach the patient within 12-14 hours.
As the hearing drew to an end, the Court clarified that all it wanted was a rational, transparent system to be in place which would also include notifying availability of beds in hospitals.
Due to paucity of time, no order was passed in the matter today.
The matter has been next posted for June 13.
Recently, the Bench had issued notice to the Central government, the state government and BBMP after taking suo motu cognizance of two letters underlining the lack of medical facilities for COVID-19 patients.