By LE Desk

Mumbai, April 29: The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Thursday that there was enough stock of Remdesivir and medical oxygen in the hospitals in the state. 

In an affidavit in response to two PILs alleging improper management of the COVID-19 crisis in the state, the government said the Centre has allocated 4,35,000 vials of Remdesivir for the period till April 30.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, the state’s lawyer, said nodal officers have been appointed to prevent hoarding of Remdesivir, which is used to treat hospitalised patients. The government has also streamlined the supply of oxygen through district collectors, he said, news agency PTI reported.

Senior counsel Anil Sakhre of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said while Mumbai “does not have surplus of oxygen and Remdesivir, there is enough stock to last for the next few days in all hospitals and nursing homes”.

Advocate Arshil Shah, the counsel for one of the petitioners, told the HC that he was trying to get vaccination slot for his mother for the last four days. “There are no vaccination slots available at least in the E ward of the city till July,” Shah claimed.

The judges said the state government must do something to prevent long queues at vaccination centres.

“There is some problem at the ground level. Those who have taken (one dose of) Covaxin have been asked to wait as there was short supply and they had to prioritise giving the second dose,” the HC said.

The court suggested that people be allotted specific time slots for vaccination, especially the elderly including senior citizens from the Parsi community.

“…most of them (Parsis) are old. So look after them too. Ensure they get vaccinated,” the High Court said.

Advocate General Kumbhakoni said that Adar Poonawalla of the Serum Institute of India had said earlier that he would reserve a quota of vaccine doses for his community (the Parsis).

“But the community said we will take as and when we get. They refused to take like that (through a special quota),” advocate Sakhre said.

Advocate Shah said another lawyer practising in the high court had been trying to get Remdesivir for his sister since morning, but to no avail.

The court asked the Advocate General to help him.

Kumbhakoni reiterated that the state has adequate Remdesivir stocks, but the drug is being given only on medical prescription.

“We will give it to him (the lawyer) if he brings a doctor’s prescription. In many cases, people are taking Remdesivir even when it is not required. We have adequate stock but such demand is creating a gap,” the AG said.

The court adjourned the hearing while asking both the Centre and state government to file replies to the issues raised in the PILs by May 4, the next date.

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