SC Orders on Covid-19
- 09 Apr 2020
- 4 min read
Why in News
Recently, the Supreme Court of India has passed an order asking people to behave responsibly with the medical teams fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. The order has also made the testing for Coronavirus free in all hospitals.
Key Highlights of Order
Responsible Behaviour Towards Medical Teams
- The order comes in the backdrop of several petitions highlighting the need to provide sufficient protective gear to the medical professionals. A few of them also highlighted the violence against the doctors.
- The SC has called Covid-19 a ‘National Calamity’ and termed doctors and health workers as ‘Corona Warriors’.
- All citizens of the country have been urged to act in a responsible manner and be helpful to the government and medical staff who are trying to contain and combat the pandemic.
- Medical teams will be provided protection while visiting the screening sites or places where new positive people are found or quarantined.
- The police have been ordered to take action against people who obstruct and commit any offence against doctors, medical staff and other medical officials performing their duty.
- The government has been directed to explore alternatives, including enabling and augmenting domestic production of protective clothing and gear for medical professionals.
- This includes alternative modes of production of such clothing (masks, suits, caps, gloves, etc.) and permitting movement of raw material.
- The government may also restrict export of such materials to augment inventory and domestic stock.
- It is the responsibility of the Centre and the States to ensure availability of appropriate Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) to doctors, nurses, ward boys and other medical and paramedical professionals.
Free Testing for Covid-19
- The order comes in response to a petition asking for implementation of free testing by private labs.
- An earlier SC notice also challenged the legality of the advisory price cap of ₹4,500 in private labs and hospitals saying that it may not be within the reach of a large population of the country.
- The order states that the tests relating to Covid-19, whether done in approved government or private laboratories, shall be free of cost.
- The government has been asked to issue the necessary directions immediately.
- These tests must be carried out only in the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited laboratories or any agencies approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- Recently, the government has also decided to provide free testing and treatment to the existing beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme or the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).