Prepare for third wave, increase healthcare personnel: Supreme Court tells Centre

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central government to prepare for the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which, according to the experts is inevitable.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah stressed the need to vaccinate the younger population fast as it would affect their families.

“The third surge in India which is around the corner according to experts will affect children. So when a child goes to hospital, the mother and father will also have to go. That is why vaccination will have to be over for this group of people. we need to plan for this in a scientific way and thus make arrangement,” the Court was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.

“If we prepare today we may be able to handle it,” the Court added.

The court suggested that the Centre adopt a pan-India approach so that they can prepare for the third wave of coronavirus. It asked the Centre to look at the oxygen audit and reassess the basis for allocation as the third stage of the pandemic might be different from the first two. “But, if we prepare today, we will be able to handle stage 3…. A buffer stock needs to be created,” Justice DY Chandrachud told the Centre.

Amid the ongoing oxygen crisis, the Supreme Court heard the Centre’s plan as to how it will increase supply of medical oxygen to 700 MT daily for Covid-19 patients in Delhi. The Centre informed the top court that it has complied with its order and instead of 700 MT oxygen, it ensured a supply of 730 MT to Delhi for treating Covid-19 patients. It also said that a survey has revealed that Delhi hospitals have significant stock of oxygen.

The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah recorded the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, that the government has formed an expert group calculating oxygen requirement on a pan India basis. The expert group has devised the formula on the premise that 50% of non-ICU beds need 10 litres of oxygen per minute and 100% of the ICU beds require 24 litres per minute.

The court asked the Centre to find ways to increase the number of healthcare personnel to meet the present and future challenges.

It urged the government to examine the possibility of utilising the services of doctors who have completed MBBS and waiting to enrol for PG courses.