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HC satisfied with state govt’s steps to fight coronavirus



The High Court of Bombay at Goa has said that it is satisfied with the steps taken by the Goa government to fight coronavirus or COVID-19.

The High Court has observed that “from the material placed before it, it is apparent that the state and its authorities are alive to their responsibilities and making efforts to combat this pandemic.”

The High Court’s observations came on a letter petition addressed by two law graduates in relation to medical facilities and the state of preparedness to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

Showing satisfaction over the arrangements and medical facilities set up by the Goa government, the High Court disposed of related PIL on the basis of the letter petition.

The High Court single Judge M S Sonak said, “In matters of this nature, particularly, considering the proportion of pandemic, it is futile to expect any foolproof measures. However, from the material placed before this court, it is apparent that the state and its authorities are alive to their responsibilities and making efforts to combat this pandemic. The response also speaks about the orders placed or steps taken to procure additional equipment facilities. Again, there is no doubt to suppose that these matters will not be pursued with urgency.”

The High Court observed that Advocate General D Pangam has placed on record a detailed response dated March 30, 2020, which is signed by the Secretary (Health). “The response according to me addresses not only the issues raised by the petitioners but several other issues as well in relation to the steps taken for combating the pandemic,” the court said.

“On the aspect of preparedness, the response sets out the measures taken for awareness and training programme at the Goa Medical College (GMC); information helplines for COVID-19 and Mobile apps made available for the benefit of the general public. There is also a reference to setting up of a ‘task force’ and ‘war room’. A state control room has also been established to deal with the aspect of interstate travel, medical assistance and essential supply of medicines. The names of the officers who have been appointed as the Officer in the District of North Goa and South Goa have also been set out in the response,” the court said. 

The High Court said, “The response deals with the first issue raised by the petitioners namely the personal protective equipment for doctors and medical staff. There is no doubt that this is an extremely vital aspect. The response also acknowledges that the safety of the doctors and staff is of paramount importance and steps are being taken to provide full personal protective equipment to the doctors and staff, which includes but it is not restricted of providing necessary masks, hand sanitisers etc. The response also speaks of impart of necessary training to the doctors and other staff at the hospital.”

The High Court observed that the second issue relates to the hospital isolation and quarantine facilities. “Again, in this regard, the response points out that the ESI Hospital at Margao has already been designated as COVID-19 hospital. This hospital is a 100-bedded hospital and every effort is being taken to equip this hospital for necessary facilities. In so far as the quarantine facilities are concerned, the response refers to at least five quarantine centres in North Goa and five quarantine centres in South Goa. The response sets out the bed capacity of these quarantine centres. Apart from this, it is stated that isolation facilities are made available to several government hospitals. A list of these hospitals along with number of beds available for this isolation facilities have also been set out,” the High Court said.

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