The Madras High Court hearing suo motu a case concerning the management of the COVID-19 situation in Tamil Nadu. Earlier today, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee had asked Advocate General Vijay Narayan and ASG R Sankaranarayanan to obtain instructions and remain present for the 2.15 pm hearing. .The Court has proposed to take up issues of the distribution and supply of Remdesivir, oxygen, ventilators and COVID-19 vaccinations, adding that it does not want to add to the confusion and that it only seeks to ensure that the State is handling these issues properly. .Shortly after this development, the Supreme Court has also indicated that it will be taking up a suo motu case on these issues tomorrow. .Live updates of the Madras High Court hearing feature here. .CJ Banerjee says that Court is not trying to add to the confusion, but there should be empowered authorities at the secretary or undersecretary level without reference to anyone in exigences..CJ Banerjee refers to article which states that Remdesivir is diverted, another article saying that TN was not consulted when Oxygen was diverted from the State..CJ to AG Vijay Narayan: We require you to concentrate on these four areas: 1. The drug Remdesivir 2. Availability of Oxygen 3. Ventilators 4. Availability of COVID-19 Vaccines..CJ Banerjee: We are counting (votes of assembly election votes) on May 2. Maybe a day or two before and on the day of and day after counting, special measures have to be taken. You have to consult EC and put measures in the public interest.CJ Banerjee: (As per reports) There has been 23-25% wastage of vaccines in the State, at least that is the newspaper report..CJ Banerjee: The Article in the Hindu speaks of the drug being diverted to private outlets .We also draw your attention to the month of Ramadan that is going on, it is important to a sizeable part of the population, must be respected...without allowing iftar parties to go overboard, just like you are not allowing other things...:Madras High Court Chief Justice.AG: True that some private hospitals do not have stock but whenever they make a request and give details of patients, we give these vials of Remdesivir on (reduced cost) as against MRP.AG Vijay Narayan on Remdesivir supply: Tamil Nadu one of the few States without shortage. 31,0000 vials of Remdesivir which is more than enough to meet contingencies..AG on Oxygen available in TN: 1,167 tonnes storage capacity, 400 tonnes per day manufacturing capacity, in Puducherry, 150 tones per day manufacturing capacity 0 Usage is only around 250 tonnes per day.AG: Our manufacturing is far ahead of the requirement.CJ: Very good .AG: Recently about 65 tonnes of oxygen were diverted from Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, but it does not affect our capacity at all. .We have put in place contingency measures as well, which will be known by tomorrow, or in a day or two, AG says.AG: These are all figures given by the Health Secretary of the state. We want to assure everybody that there is no cause for panic at all.AG says about 9,600 ventilators are there of which 5,887 are earmarked for covid, State also has CPAT machines and 2,440 high flow nasal oxygen cannulas (HFNO)In addition to this, private hospitals have about 6000 ventilators, and out of them 3000 have been earmarked for covid patients: AG.Is there any regional imbalance in the distribution of ventilators: Court In all the government hospitals, ventilators are there. But I will have to get details: AG.On active COVID-19, AG says there are approximately 80,000 (84,361) active cases as on date. He also says there is no shortage of ventilators or beds. Court says that if TN has sufficient resources "we should also be helping other states that do not have an adequate supply (oxygen). We are one country. If we have the resources here, we must share it.".Court flags concern over the financial burden that may be faced by low income or less privileged groups with COVID-19 vaccine being priced at Rs 400 (govt counters) - Rs 600 (private counters). Says the 18-45 age group is left in a lurch.CJ Banerjee tells ASG that considering this aspect: If people do not take the vaccine, they remain carriers and spreaders. This aspect of the matter must engage your attention..Court says it will post the matter for further hearing on Monday, when State is expected to provide further details on beds and vaccine availability..ORDER: Court records that suo motu case was registered pursuant to certain newspaper articles published, inter alia, in the Hindu and TOI among other newspapers and online editions.In one of the newspaper articles, there is an indication of a severe shortage of the drug Remdesivir in the State... indication given was that the drug may have been diverted to private outlets leaving a lot of the less privileged in the lurch...There are also reports in the electronic media of particularly private hospitals requiring patient parties to obtain a supply of oxygen or the drug from outside even after allotting a bed in the private hospital to the patient: Court records.At the outset, it must be indicated that it is not the court’s intention to interfere in what ought to be regarded as an exclusive executive domain.Given the rate of COVID-19 infections in India, media reports on bed shortage and other facilities for COVID treatment "a measure of a bookkeeping exercise had to be undertaken without interfering with policy decision."Court demarcates the four areas of concern: Remdesivir, Oxygen, Ventilators, COVID-19 vaccination..Court says that special measures have to be taken around vote counting day on May 2 "so that it does not act as a catalyst for the further spread of the virus."Also this is the month of Ramzan and a degree of sensibility would also be required to ensure that the religious observance remains unimpeded without any risk to health.Court records State's submissions as regards availability of Remdesivir, Oxygen, and Ventilators in Tamil Nadu. It also records AG's submission that Tamil Nadu may never see a shortage of Oxygen supply even if an unforeseen peak in COVID cases happen. .Court records submission of Tamil Nadu Govt that even if 65 tonnes of Oxygen is diverted to Telangana and AP, there would be no ensuing burden on State or shortage.Court records that AG has submitted that a contingency plan is being prepared should there be an unforeseen spur.Court records AG's submission that most COVID active cases do not require invasive or aggressive treatment or procedure. State also assures there are sufficient beds available in govt hospitals and many more in private host for the exigencies to be met. .Further details as to the number of beds, vials of vaccine available by end of the month, and the rate of vaccination may be indicated when matter appears next;It has been the most earnest endeavor on State to allay court’s misgivings as to availability of beds, facilities, amenities, to deal with persons affected by the virus even if there a further spurt may take place: Madras High Court.State also points out that pursuant to measures put in place by State, including prohibiting congregations and gatherings and other norms, the further spurt of the virus is not expected: CourtCourt records Central Government's submission that the secretary to the Dept of Health issued a letter on April 15 to all Chief Secretaries indicating 1. an Oxygen plan 2. details of contact persons so that States may get in touch in case of emergency.Court records AG's submission that further measures are in the offing both to deal with those affected by the virus and to arrest further spread.Court puts on record the concerns flagged regarding the financial burden with COVID-19 vaccination of age group 18-45 from May 1 on."In particular, the cost of the vaccine at Rs 400 per shot from government counters and at Rs 600 per shot from private counters may be beyond the reach of a large section of the population, particularly considering the family structure in this country.".Appeal made to Union to consider how the less privileged and people rendered without basic resources and adequate jobs in the wake of the lockdown of last year may be able to afford vaccine at such high cost: Court records.Hope appropriate steps would be taken to take care of the lowest denominations: CourtHoped that empowered groups of bureaucrats would be put in place to take immediate decisions in case of exigencies: Court.It is repeated that the object of the present exercise is not to interfere in the executive functioning or to add to any confusion that may already exist but only to ascertain whether measures are in place for a worse case scenario than what exists at present. .After order dictation, CJ Banerjee orally informs that an article on Remdesivir availability had been shown by Justice Sathyanarayanan, which is among the reports that prompted the court to take up the matter.CJ Banerjee observes it is important not to panic: "There must be no alarm, no panic, yet we must be vigilant. There are many rumors ... needs to be quelled. Because rumors have a terrible impact. In times of crisis, the rumors tend to fuel you than hard facts."