The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the State government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to substantially increase hospital beds in Bengaluru as well as in those districts where there are more than 5,000 active COVID-19 cases..A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar passed this direction while hearing a case registered suo motu after it received two letters highlighting various difficulties faced by COVID-19 positive patients in the State.The direction was passed after the Court observed that there was only a marginal increase in the availability of beds in the city of Bengaluru compared to the previous day. With such an increase, the city may not be able to cope up with rising cases, the Bench opined..The Court termed the situation as “quite alarming” when it was informed that at 11:15 am today, there were only 74 High Dependency Unit (HDU) beds available in city, 20 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and 14 ICU beds with ventilators..Standing counsel for the Central government was directed to immediately take instructions on making beds available in hospitals of the Armed Forces in the city for benefit of citizens..On the point of availability of oxygen, the Court was informed that over 1,470 Metric Tonnes (MT) will be needed per day in the State. The Bench had noted that the Government of India had earlier agreed to allocate 802 MT in the State. However, this was only on paper, the Court said. It thus ordered,"We direct GOI to make the immediate allocation of oxygen. If this is not done, the shortfall of oxygen will be more than 600 MT…".During the hearing, the President of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) had informed the Court that private hospitals can procure only 50% of oxygen requirement..Hearing this, the Court questioned the Centre and the State on their plan of action to better the existing situation.“There is a huge gap between requirement and availability of oxygen in the State. How are you (State) going to bridge the gap?Mr Kumar (Standing counsel for Centre), there is a huge shortfall of oxygen in the State. What is the Centre going to do?”.The Court had earlier directed that data on availability of Remdesivir and oxygen supply with various manufacturers be published for the benefit of the citizens..Today, after going through the memo filed by the State, it was noted that the above direction of the Court was not complied with.“Tomorrow lockdown is starting. So if relatives are told to get Remdesivir, it will be difficult for them to get it. People cannot be expected to go to various shops. State must step in immediately….”.AG Navadgi assured the Court that he would convene a meeting of all the advocates appearing in the matter and understand the grievances raised not only on the three aspects (hospital beds, oxygen, and Remdesivir) but those including food security, vaccination etc. as well..The matter will be next heard on April 29.