By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 6: The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to come up with a solution to the “embargo” created by its order to nursing homes to treat COVID-19 patients only on their ground and first floors.

The court said such government order could lead to existing COVID-19 patients being discharged and new ones being turned away.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said if someone had started a nursing home during the pandemic by flouting the building norms, then an action under the Delhi government’s April 30 order would have made sense, news agency PTI reported.

However, the bench said if nursing homes which were in operation much before the pandemic, and maybe in violation of the building norms, were being asked now to treat COVID-19 patients only on the ground and first floors, “that is not fair”.

“If they (nursing homes) discharge their patients, will you (Delhi government) take them in? Where will they (patients) go, especially when there are no avenues for people to avail treatment elsewhere” the court said.

It suggested that the order can be kept in abeyance for a few months, especially during the prevailing pandemic.

Subsequently, senior advocate Rahul Mehra and additional standing counsel Satyakam, appearing for the Delhi government, said they will seek instructions on the issue.

Senior advocate and amicus curiae Rajshekhar Rao and Mehra told the court that order may have been issued as a lot of nursing homes are not in compliance with fire safety norms.

Mr Mehra also said that the order was actually only an advisory and those nursing homes having fire safety clearances can continue to treat patients as they were doing till now.

The court was hearing a plea moved by the Delhi Medical Association, several of whose members are running nursing homes in the national capital and are treating COVID-19 patients, challenging the Delhi government’s April 30 order.

The April 30 order said any nursing home of above nine metre height should treat COVID-19 patients only on ground and first floors.

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