Wednesday, April 1: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the government on a petition filed by a medical professional to direct for the availability of World Health Organisation (WHO)-graded protective gear for frontline doctors and medical staff fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, through videoconferencing, issued notice on the petition filed by Dr. Jerryl Banait, a practising medical professional, to provide protective gear, including Hazmat (hazardous material) suits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including sterile medical/Nitrile gloves, starch apparels, medical masks, goggles, face shield, respirators (i.e., N–95 respirator mask or equivalent), shoe covers, head covers and coveralls/gowns to all health workers.

The gear should be provided equally to doctors, nurses, ward boys, other medical and para-medical professionals actively attending to and treating patients suffering from COVID-19, not just in metros, but also in tiers two and three cities.

The petition asked the court to order the government to issue directives to set up COVID-19 special screening centres in smaller towns and take immediate steps to ensure effective implementation of the “Guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare Facilities” of January 25 issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through the National Centre for Disease Control under the Directorate of General Health Services.

The plea said the government should be directed to take necessary steps to ensure adherence to the guidelines issued by the WHO on the Rational Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the guidelines on Rational Use of Personal Protective Equipment issued by the Ministry of Health on March 24.

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