SC sets up COVID-19 task force to facilitate oxygen distribution
The Supreme Court has directed the formation of a National Task Force to facilitate India's COVID-19 response as the Narendra Modi government appears to have abdicated its responsibility. The 12-member task force will have the Cabinet Secretary to the Union government as its convenor. India on Sunday reported over 4 lakh new COVID-19 cases for the third consecutive day. Here are more details.
Likely future course of pandemic should be considered: SC
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah passed the order for the constitution of the task force Saturday. This would enable the decision-makers to have inputs that go beyond finding ad-hoc solutions to present problems, the bench reportedly said. The likely future course of the pandemic should be taken into consideration to allow future requirements to be scientifically mapped.
Here is an excerpt from the order:
"Estimating projected needs is crucial to ensure that the country remains prepared to meet future eventualities, which will cause a demand for oxygen, medicines, infrastructure, manpower, and logistics. The establishment of the Task Force will provide the Union Government with inputs and strategies for meeting the challenges of the pandemic on a transparent and professional basis, in the present and in future."
What is the objective of the task force?
The task force will specifically address issues relating to streamlining of oxygen allocation to different states, review and suggest measures to ensure availability of essential drugs and medicines, and adopt remedial measures to ensure preparedness for future emergencies, Bar and Bench reported. It will also facilitate the use of technology to ensure the available manpower is optimized and suggest measures to augment healthcare staff.
Besides the Cabinet Secretary, who else is a member?
Former WBUHS VC Dr. Bhabatosh Biswas, Ganga Ram Hospital's Dr. Devender Singh Rana and Dr. Saumitra Rawat, and Narayana Healthcare chairperson Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty. Christian Medical College's Dr. Gagandeep Kang and Dr. JV Peter, Medanta Hospital chairperson Dr. Naresh Trehan, Fortis Hospital's Dr. Rahul Pandit, Hinduja Hospital's Dr. Zarir F Udwadia, ILBS senior professor Dr. Shiv Kumar Sarin, and the Health Secretary.
India's tally reaches 2.22 crore
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Sunday morning, India reported a total of 2,22,96,414 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 2,42,362. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,76,12,351 patients have recovered, while 37,36,648 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 4,03,738 new infections and 4,092 fresh fatalities. 16,94,39,663 vaccine doses have been administered so far.