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Sikkim HC urges state to take steps on a “war footing” against COVID-19

GANGTOK: The Sikkim High Court has urged the State Government to take all necessary steps to augment its resources to meet the present situation of the COVID-19 pandemic on a “war footing”.

Chief Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan of a Sikkim Division Bench have noted a number of shortcomings in the state’s medical services.

For instance, it has expressed concern about the lack of testing labs, ostensibly due to a shortage of qualified personnel, including microbiologists.

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“In the current pandemic situation, it has been noticed that the RT-PCR test is critical. As a response, we believe that the state government should take urgent and immediate measures to provide RT-PCR testing facilities, at the very least, in the four district hospitals, and to supplement their services by hiring qualified manpower and Microbiologists.,” it said.

Secondly, the Court noted that District Hospitals in Namchi, Mangan, and Singtam (near Gangtok) (capital cities of 3/4 districts in the State) do not have COVID ICUs.

The Court has ordered that “dedicated COVID-19 wards and ICU facilities with oxygen and ventilator support be provided in all district hospitals, including Singtam.”

In terms of medical oxygen supply in the state, the Court has ordered the government to include a detailed timeline for setting up the proposed PSA (Pressure Swing Absorption) Oxygen Generating Plant and the procurement of D-Type and B-Type Oxygen Cylinders.

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The Bench also noted that the State has 63 ambulances, but there are no details on the services provided by these ambulances.

“We are worried about the lack of dedicated and fully fitted COVID-19 ambulances with oxygen and paramedic support for the District Hospitals,” it added.

The State has been given a week to respond to the above issues in the form of an affidavit by the Court.

The matter is now listed for hearing on May 25.

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