Agartala: Two days after 36 children tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the High Court of Tripura on Monday, while hearing a suo motu case on the COVID-19 preparedness of the state, observed that there is a high rate of infection in state-run orphanages and jails. The court thereby asked the state government to conduct maximum testing in those facilities.

The state government submitted the details for the availability of infrastructure following which the court sought additional information on May 24, its next date of hearing.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice AA Kureshi and Justice S Talapatra, while taking note of the details provided by the state government in the said affidavit, said that it would like to touch on two aspects which require immediate attention — high number of COVID-19 cases in state-run orphanages and jails.

“The young children, who are housed in these orphanages, need special protection. The state government would ensure maximum possible testing of these children, particularly considering the fact that in recent times the number of positive cases reported in these orphanages has been quite high,” the division bench observed.

While speaking about the jail inmates, the court said that the state government, which has restricted the movement of citizens, of course by the authority of law, also has the onus to ensure that their health is not jeopardised on account of being kept confined.

“We are sure the state government shall take into account all the observations and directives of the committee specially constituted by the Supreme Court by its order dated 23rd March, 2020,” the court said.

Also read: Tripura: Over 500 fined on Day 1 of COVID-19 curfew in Agartala

The High Court also said that the state government is in requirement of round-the-clock helpline that is efficient, functional and provides all necessary information and support to the relatives of the patients who are in need.

“In particular, the state may think of devising a system by which the availability of hospital beds with and without oxygen supply and ventilators is constantly made available in public domain. This will help the relatives of the COVID-19 patients who require urgent hospitalisation and oxygen support to identify the proper place without loss of time,” the division bench observed.

The court hoped that the Advocate General will take up this issue with the state government and devise a plan as is found appropriate.

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