Doctors inside a protective chamber before collecting swab sample at a newly installed Walk-In Sample Kiosk (WISK) for COVID-19 test, in Chennai | PTI
File photo | Doctors inside a protective chamber before collecting swab sample at a newly installed Walk-In Sample Kiosk for COVID-19 test, in Chennai | PTI
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New Delhi: The central government Thursday told the Supreme Court that the healthcare workers had the “final responsibility” to protect themselves from Covid-19.

The Union health ministry, in an affidavit filed with the apex court, said that hospital infection control committees were responsible for implementing Covid-19 prevention and control activities, but ultimately “it is also his/her responsibility to adequately train himself/herself and take all possible measures for preventing the infection”.

This was in response to the petition filed by Dr Arushi Jain, challenging the central government’s new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for frontline Covid-19 healthcare workers. The new SOP, issued on 15 May, ended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for them.

The Court had, on 27 May, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to file a response to the plea within a week.

The central government called the plea “completely presumptuous, vacuous, ill-founded and sans any empirical or medical evidence”.

It asserted that the petitioner had failed to file “any evidence” to show that doctors were being diagnosed with Covid-19 despite using PPEs.


Also read: ‘One policy, one portal’: SC gives Delhi, UP, Haryana one week to plan interstate movement

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In case of high-exposure, quarantine remains an option: Govt

The government also submitted that the guidelines have been framed by experts in the field and “cannot be devised/altered or re-casted based on the individual perception of some medical professionals; which in certain cases, if not in the present case, can be based on either their individual experience or on extraneous considerations”.

The affidavit stated that “if adequate measures are scrupulously observed, the HCWs (health care workers’) chances of contracting the infection would not be higher than that of any other person”.

In case of high exposure, the 14-day quarantine still remains as an option, it added.

According to the response submitted, the decision to do away with the quarantine period was taken after duly consulting with the Joint Monitoring Group of WHO. It added that its risk assessment approach was in line with the guidelines issued by Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, USA.

Finally, the government asserted that with Covid-19 cases constantly increasing, at some point in the near future several make-shift hospitals will also have to be created, in addition to the existing ones, to accommodate patients.

“Hence, conserving health care workforce is the need of hour in order to cater to the anticipated patient load in the house of distress,” it said.


Also read: Village level quarantine centres are ‘the worst’: Uttarakhand HC asks state to fund gram sabhas


 

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3 Comments Share Your Views

3 COMMENTS

  1. Only proper ppe are available(that too not in adequate amount) to whom who are directly in contact with covid. They are not allowing testing of asymptomatic patients so other doctors who are not directly in contact with covid patients don’t even know they got exposed as they have to operate on them and do various medical procedures and i might add without proper ppe as they are no dealing with corona patients directly. And please stay in that ppe kit for 2 hours yourself most will start crying which doctors have to wear for 6 hours straight without break as if you remove it you have to use another ppe and there is no supply ( can’t go to washroom also). Even if we ignore that 1st provide adequate good quality ppe then give these kind of decision that is doctors fault. One has to get a negative report to set foot in court to stand in front of judge but not in front of doctors and if they say something snatch there degrees because afterall it’s just that person’s lifetime hardwork, how is that important to court of politician.

  2. Such a ridiculous irresponsible government.. though government doesn’t support doctors since decades, it should help health care workers atleast now.. you think wearing PPES will protect doctors.. then why many health care workers are infected.. shameful and spineless government .. I think supreme court has no idea about guidelines. They should leave ego and take suggestion by appointing committee headed by doctors….

    • I things are taken in wrong way. Govt is telling to take utmost care while treating. It’s also allowing 14 days quarantine when its necessary. But as the cases are rising docs treating covid patients as well as doc who came contact with a patient, later diagnosed with covid, are sent to quarantine. The problem is very few doctors are left in government hospitals to treat general public. If things are not managed properly poor people will die due to lack of doctors rather than covid. I am telling these because we have doctors(govt) in my family and they support govt decision.

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