COVID-19 surge | Everything was fine in January: Centre to Madras High Court

COVID curve had flattened in December 2020, Madras HC told; surge in Maharashtra, Kerala came suddenly

Responding to a query raised by the Madras High Court on Thursday on what it was doing in the last 12 to 14 months without anticipating the second wave of COVID-19 and making preparations to face it, the Centre said the disease curve was flattening till December 2020 and that everything was fine by January this year. It was only thereafter, a surge was noticed in Maharashtra and Kerala, the Centre told the court on Friday.

Appearing before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, Additional Solicitor General R. Sankaranarayanan said the Centre was now taking all steps to augment the supply of vaccines, drugs and oxygen to the States and Union Territories. The submissions were made during the hearing of a suo motu public interest litigation petition taken up by the court to monitor COVID-19 related activities.

Later, passing interim orders in the case, the judges wrote: “Two aspects cannot be missed. The first is the Union’s endeavour to indicate that the surge in numbers may have been unexpected and that preparatory measures had been taken for quite some time. The second aspect is the Election Commission of India’s concern at sensationalism [by the media]. The post mortem on either count may have to wait particularly in the light of immediate measures that may have to be put in place.”

The court also clarified that it did not regard itself to possess the expertise necessary to suggest measures to be adopted to fight the second wave of COVID-19.

“The object of the exercise is to ensure that the authorities tasked with such obligation devote their complete attention in such regard and to monitor the measures,” the Bench said. Later, deciding to hear the suo motu PIL during summer vacation too, the judges adjourned the case to Wednesday for further hearing.

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