COVID-19: Supreme Court advises Centre, states to impose lockdown
The Supreme Court of India has advised the central and state governments to consider imposing a lockdown in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has pushed the country's healthcare infrastructure past its brink. The court said that special arrangements will have to be made for the vulnerable sections if such a decision is taken. Here are more details on this.
"Centre and State may consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare," the top court said in the suo moto case on India's COVID-19 crisis. It added, "We are cognizant of the socio-economic impact of a lockdown, specifically, on the marginalized communities...Arrangements must be made beforehand to cater to the needs of these communities."
The Supreme Court also directed the federal and state governments to put on record the efforts (taken or planned) to tackle the worsening coronavirus situation. "In light of the continuing surge of infections in the second wave of the pandemic, we direct the Central Government and State Governments to put on record the efforts taken to curb the spread of the virus," it said.
Separately, the SC has also directed the Centre to ensure that it sends national capital Delhi's deficit oxygen supply by the midnight of Monday, May 3. It also ordered the Centre to set up a buffer stock of medical oxygen for emergency purposes. Further, a period of two weeks has been given to the Centre to formulate a national policy on admissions to hospitals.
To recall, last March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had initially imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the coronavirus' transmission. India had reported nearly 500 infections by that time. Even as many contended that it helped curb the spread, experts argue that it was without proper planning. Notably, thousands of migrant workers were forced to walk home as public transportation remained shut.
India has been gripped by a dreadful second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which experts have blamed mostly on mutated strains of the virus and mass gatherings. In the last 24 hours, the country logged over 3.68 lakh new COVID-19 cases. Active cases have crossed the 34 lakh-mark. Meanwhile, 3,417 fatalities took the death toll past 2.18 lakh.