List steps taken to control spread of COVID-19 among children, HC tells Maharashtra

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government about the steps it had taken to check the spread of COVID-19 among children.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni said experts had cautioned the nation about the third wave and said that children might be the most vulnerable and that authorities must take pre-emptive steps and strengthen health infrastructure in the State. The court directed the State to file an affidavit elucidating all the measures by May 19.

Anil Sakhare, senior advocate and counsel for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), informed the HC that till April 2021, a total of 10,000 children under the age of 10 had contracted COVID-19 and 17 of them had died of the infection. He added that at least 33 children between the age of 10 and 18 had died of COVID-19 in Mumbai so far.

The court then said the State must consult experts, paediatricians and other stakeholders to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure for children and their caregivers.

“Children will be accompanied by their mothers or other caregivers. Make separate arrangements for their mothers and caregivers too. File a reply on what is being done,” the Bench said.

As far as vaccination in the city is concerned, the Chief Justice said, “On Tuesday, we had a meeting with BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and he said that by May 17, he would be opening a vaccination centre in each ward. So, they are trying to decentralise the process.”

The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by two city-based lawyers that sought vaccination for above 75 years, bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound to be carried out at home.

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