The Gujarat government has informed the high court that the Covid-19 situation in the state was “undeniably grim” and the demand for medical oxygen stood at 1,050 MT as of Monday morning. The oxygen demand was approximately 980 MT, as of April 16.
Government pleader Manisha Shah, however, assured the court, hearing a suo motu PIL on the pandemic, that the “state had sufficient oxygen”. The state’s production is 1,100 MT per day.
A division bench headed by Chief justice Vikram Nath directed the state government to incorporate in its affidavit a status report on the detailed break-up of testing requests and number of tests being conducted, by the next hearing on April 27.
The chief justice also highlighted that “RT-PCR tests are also not giving correct or accurate report of the infection and ultimately a CT scan report verifies that a patient is Covid- positive or not… still, RT-PCR is better than antigen tests”.
The state counsel clarified that for admission of a patient, the state is relying on symptoms and not necessarily a diagnostic test and “no patient is being turned away” on the basis of absence of test reports.
In an affidavit on April 19, Principal Health Secretary Jayanti Ravi had submitted that of the nearly 24.70 lakh samples tested between April 1 and 18, about 39 per cent (9.70 lakh) were RT-PCR.
The Indian Medical Association(IMA) that joined in the HC hearing through its Gujarat chapter president Dr Devendra Patel and secretary Dr Kamlesh Saini submitted that “more and more RT-PCR tests should be done” and testing facilities should be available at all taluka-level.
It also suggested that “actual and real figures of deaths of Covid-19 with comorbidities” should be put forth publicly. It also suggested that the government impose a complete lockdown for 14 days and if it was not possible, implement “severe restrictions”.