The Gauhati High Court had expressed deep concern over the rise in coronavirus cases in the State.
Assam government is preparing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to implement the directives of Gauhati High Court on adherence to coronavirus (COVID-19) protocol issued by the Health Department, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.
Worst of COVID-19 may be behind us: Assam Minister
The Gauhati High Court had expressed deep concern over the rise in coronavirus cases and have made the police and the deputy commissioners personally liable so as to ensure that the directives and protocols issued by the State Health Department to check the spread of the contagion is maintained in public places, the Minister told a press conference in Guwahati.
“The situation in the State is alarming with an average of 3,000 new cases of coronavirus reported daily for the last three days. But the State government cannot have further lockdowns without the permission of the Centre,” he said.
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“We are committed to follow the high court order and a meeting will be held with the police and deputy commissioners to ensure that the SOP being prepared is implemented. We do not have too many tools with us, except to ensure that people wear masks and maintain social distance to check the situation. The high court order will help the government convince the people to take adequate preventive measures”, he said.
The high court, he said, has directed the police to strictly enforce fines on persons not wearing masks and “we hope this acts as a deterrent”.
A division Bench of Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Manish Choudhary hearing a PIL had directed all district heads of police, their deputies and officers-in-charge of police stations on Thursday to be proactive on the streets.
The High Court directed that the police must check whether the order issued by the State Health Department on May 8 on wearing of face masks and maintaining social-distance in public places are maintained or not.
It had also directed the State authorities to impose fine on the violators of government guidelines.
Mr. Sarma said the Assam government will launch awareness campaigns in specific places regarding these measures and the NSS and NCC cadets will be involved in them.
The Minister said that it has been observed that more complications arise post-COVID-19 with many dying after they test negative.
“The total deaths due to COVID-19 is 330 but around 1,000 people have died if we take into account those who have passed away after testing negative due to varied complications”, he added.
The Minister further said that there was wrong information circulating that COVID-19 treatment in the State will no longer be free.
“This is factually incorrect. The rent for the paying cabins in government hospitals will only be charged but the entire treatment will be free. We have to charge the paying cabins or else there will be objections from the Auditor General and it will not be possible to justify it”, he said.
Only patients admitted in private nursing homes who come to the government plasma banks for plasma therapy will have to pay for the plasma kit worth ₹6,500. But the plasma is given free to them, he said.
Mr. Sarma claimed that Assam is perhaps the only State in the country where the “entire treatment (for coronavirus) is free – right from plasma and medicines to the welcome and farewell gift”.
It is only patients admitted to private nursing homes who come to the government plasma banks for plasma therapy who have to pay for the plasma kit worth ₹6,500 but the plasma is given free to them.
He also clarified that during lockdown in Assam the recovered patients were dropped home. But now it is they who want to go home on their own and not wait for the hospital vehicles.
Patients from other districts undergoing treatment in medical colleges and hospitals will, however, be dropped in their homes while those who want their RT-PCR reports within 24 hours will be charged.
A total of 1,18,333 COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in the State so far and of them 330 have died. There are 29,274 active cases, while 88,726 were discharged from the hospital after treatment and three others migrated out of the State.
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