New Delhi: The Delhi High Court was on Wednesday informed that 26 hospitals and 11 labs have been designated in the national capital to deal with swine flu outbreak which has claimed 10 lives in the city.
Responding to a PIL seeking establishment of multiple testing laboratories in Delhi and reduction in the cost of swine flu tests, the Centre and the city government informed a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini that steps are being taken to effectively deal with the disease.
The counsel for Centre told the court that three government labs were performing swine flu tests free of cost and adequate measures have been taken to mitigate the impact of the disease.
It said that out of total of 19,972 cases of swine flu in India, 107 deaths have been recorded till February 28, while in Delhi 2,891 cases of swine flu have been found out which 10 deaths have been recorded.
The city government, in its 22-page affidavit, said that in view of the recent upsurge of the cases, the number of hospitals and labs for treating and testing the virus has been increased to 26 and 11 respectively.
Earlier 22 hospitals (17 government and 5 private) had been designated for treating and admitting patients with seven designated labs (three govt and four private) for testing H1N1 was in place, it said.
The high court has now fixed the matter for next hearing on March 18.
The affidavit, filed by Delhi government standing counsel Zubeda Begum, said that to ensure easy availability of antiviral medicine Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in the capital, Drug Controller of Delhi government will issue 40 more licenses to chemists to make the capsule available and "there was no need of panic regarding the drug".
The Delhi government's affidavit further said medicines/PPE Kits and N95 masks were being distributed to all hospitals and districts as per demand and a cap of Rs 4,500 was fixed for testing H1N1 virus and no private hospital would exceed the ceiling price.
"For raising awareness, outdoor campaigning was done by setting up hoardings, flex Boards with information regarding seasonal flu including H1N1 in all the Delhi government dispensaries and mobile health clinics.
"Training of doctors, nurses and paramedics of identified hospitals was being conducted by National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC)," it said.
On February 25, the high court had sought response of Centre and city government on the steps they have taken to deal with swine flu outbreak.
While hearing a PIL seeking directions to make tests available at an affordable cost, the court had also issued notices to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Health and Family Welfare Department of Delhi government, LG and the municipal corporations, asking them to respond by Wednesday.
The court had also asked the government to inform it about the steps it has taken to contain the virus, saying there is a need to create greater awareness level.
The PIL, filed by Leena Tuteja, through advocate Gaurav Bahl, had sought the establishment of multiple testing laboratories in Delhi and reduction in the cost of swine flu tests in order to make them affordable to all sections of society.
The plea had said that the minimum cost of a test is Rs 4,500 which was very high and dissuaded people from getting tested for the H1N1 virus.
It had contended that the government should provide more laboratories in the city for testing swine flu and it should be available at an affordable cost. PTI