NEW DELHI: Amid an exponential rise in coronavirus cases, the Supreme Court has urged the Centre and states “to consider imposing a lockdown to break the chain in the interest of public welfare”.
It also directed the central government to revisit its initiatives and protocols, including the availability of oxygen, availability and pricing of vaccines, and availability of essential drugs at affordable prices.
A three-member apex court bench, comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Ravindra Bhat said, “We are cognisant of the socio-economic impact of a lockdown, specifically, on the marginalized communities… thus, in case the measure of a lockdown is imposed, arrangements must be made beforehand to cater to the needs of these communities.”
Moreover, the top court asked the Centre to formulate within two weeks a national policy on admissions to hospitals in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 and said no patient shall be denied hospitalization or essential drugs in any state for lack of local residential proof.
The Supreme Court’s observation comes as India continues to reel under the second wave of coronavirus. The country has been recording over 3 lakh cases for past few weeks. In the last 24 hours, it reported over 3.68 fresh COVID-19 cases. The 3,68,147 new infections take active COVID cases in India to 34,13,642. Meanwhile, 3,417 people died due to coronavirus, taking the total death toll in India from the pandemic to 2,18,959.