Sikkim High Court raps state government for delay in framing SOPs for anticipated Covid third wave

Sikkim High Court raps state government for delay in framing SOPs for anticipated Covid third wave

The High Court of Sikkim while hearing on Covid-19 Management PIL on September 1 observed that the State government has not framed standard operating procedures for the anticipated  third wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The High Court further on September 1 observed that, “The standard operating procedures for the anticipated third wave of COVID-19 are pending approval of the State government. To this, the Learned Advocate General undertakes to place all details including care of children before this court within a week"

The High Court of Sikkim, in almost every hearing, has pressed on the need for Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) in every district of Sikkim, apart from the existing in STNM Hospital and Central Referral Hospital in Gangtok, East Sikkim. While hearing on an issue regarding setting up of VRDL the assistant Solicitor General of India submitted that the VRDL cannot be set up in the State in view of the scheme of the Government of India. However, in the affidavit submitted on July 22, it was informed that the State can approach the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Health for setting up the Integrated Public Health Laboratory. To this, the court noted that no steps on this count have been initiated by the State Respondents, and hence directed the state to inform the court.

While on the other hand, with regard to the availability of the oxygen in the STNM Multi-speciality hospital, the court put a query to the state to which the state submitted that there is no shortage of oxygen. Regarding the suggestion of setting up of Molecular Testing Laboratory in the state and buying equipment in this regard, the state has sought some time to clarify on this issue.  

The High Court of Sikkim has been laying the need of Viral Research and Diagnostic labs in all four districts, excluding the existing in STNM. Further to which on hearing of September 1 the court mentioned that, “The Assistant Solicitor General of India submits that the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) cannot be set up in the State in view of the scheme of the Government of India. However, in the affidavit submitted on July 22, 2021, it was informed that the State can approach the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Health for setting up the Integrated Public Health Laboratory. No steps on this count have been initiated by the State Respondents".

The court further noticed that that state has been lacking in ambulance facilities and prescribed requirements, It is noticed inter alia that the State-Respondents have not complied with the directions therein inasmuch as the ambulance facilities and the prescribed requirements thereof are lacking, the Inpatient Department admittedly does not have a screen between the beds, spittoons and urinals are not in place.”

To hear further, the court has fixed the next date of hearing on September 7, 2021.