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'Reality contrary to govt's claims': Gujarat HC asks state to ramp up testing

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Ahmedabad, Apr 12: Gujarat High Court on Monday indicated that the "state is heading towards a health emergency of sorts" and directed the government to ramp up testing.

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Hearing on suo motu PIL on the COVID-19 situation in the state, the HC said, "We're not satisfied with govt's policy. Something needs to be corrected so that people can do something about this pandemic. Court also says that it will meet next on Thursday, 15th April to check what actions are taken by govt".

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The court also suggested ways to curb covid cases in the state and instructed the state to cap number of people at weddings at 50, make booth at housing societies to check people's health, take help of religious centers that can provide covid care centre and isolation facility.

'People now think that they are at God's mercy,' a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia said while hearing a PIL, taken up suo motu (on its own), on the coronavirus situation in the state.

After Advocate General Kamal Trivedi informed the HC about steps taken by the Gujarat government to tackle the COVID-19 situation, the court said the reality is quite different from what the government claims.

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'The situation is quite different than what you are claiming. You are saying that everything is alright. But, the reality is contrary to that,' the high court said during the hearing held via video-conferencing.

There is a 'trust deficit' among people, it observed.

'There is no shortage of Remdesivir (key anti-viral drug). Everything is available with you. We want results, not reasons,' the HC said, on complaints of shortage of Remdesivir injections for COVID-19 patients.

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It now takes 'almost five days' for a person to get the RT-PCR test result, the court noted.

'You did not upscale the testing facilities when you had time,' the HC said.

Gujarat reported 5,469 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, its biggest single-day rise since the beginning of the pandemic, which took its caseload to 3,47,495.

The death toll due to the virus went up to 4,800 as 54 patients succumbed to the infection on Sunday, as per the state health department.

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