Doctors Plead for a National-Level Plan to Fight COVID-19

Dr Sneh Jain & Dr Hans Jain moved an application in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the government to formulate one national-level plan for COVID-19. A division bench of J. Ashok Bhushan and J. Ravindra Bhat listed the application filed under Section 11 of the Disaster Management Act with the PILs seeking measures for providing PPEs to health workers. Senior Advocate Jaideep Mehta, appearing for the applicants, made submissions before the apex court.

The application sought a custom made plan to handle the pandemic, based upon preventive and remedial measures to save the healthcare infrastructure from collapsing. It claims that individual plans of all the states have caused chaos and confusion amid the citizens of India. The Application asserts that the shortage of Protective Equipment, Test Kits, the poor coordination among ministries and departments of centre and states will lead to a rise in the rate of infection and deaths.

Opposing the individual plans of all the states, the application reads, “due to the panic created at the eleventh-hour, the orders of State enforcing the lockdown and curfew were neither uniform nor concerted. Instead the lockdown orders imposed restrictions on movement / supply of raw materials of the Hazmat Suits/Masks/PPEs/Coveralls from one state to another, which further agonized the situation.”

The application seeks a comprehensive national-level plan with provisions for medical supplies, adequate quarantine facilities and a mechanism for disposal of COVID-19 infected dead bodies, et cetera. The Application also prays for permission of use of drugs which are undergoing the stage of approval but which promise to be effective in the treatments of COVID-19 on consenting patients.