The Bombay high court on Monday said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation must not leave any stone unturned in ensuring people of the metropolis remained safe from the rapidly rising number of cases caused by the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
IMAGE: A policeman asks people to vacate Dadar Chowpatty after a large number of people gathered at the place amid restrictions imposed due to rising COVID-19 cases in Mumbai. Photograph: PTI Photo
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik directed the BMC to implement precautionary measures as well as guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government to manage COVID-related healthcare resources such as oxygen supply, hospital beds, essential medicines etc.
“We hope and trust the BMC shall not leave any stone unturned to ensure the health of the general public is not compromised because of the emergence and spread of Omicron,” said the bench while hearing a public interest litigation filed last year seeking directions to the BMC and the Maharashtra government on management of healthcare resources related to COVID-19.
BMC counsel and senior advocate Anil Sakhre told the bench the civic body was adequately prepared to tackle the current situation, and submitted an affidavit detailing the availability of hospital beds, oxygen supply as well as vaccines administered so far.
As per the affidavit, in the last three weeks, while the number of patients contracting COVID-19, including the Omicron variant, had increased, the number of these requiring hospitalization or intensive care was “minimal.”
As per the affidavit, the city saw 1,17,437 active cases of COVID-19, of which 7,432 patients were in hospitals, with 814 requiring ICU admission, and only 3 per cent of total cases needing oxygen beds.
The BMC told the high court that 1,00,31,137 people above the age of 18 have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, while 82,76,199 are fully vaccinated.
The BMC said it plans to vaccinate 6,12,461 people in the 15-18 age group, and the first dose has been given to 65,289 teens in this segment, which is about 11 per cent of the target population.
The HC will hear the PIL further next week.