SC directs states to carry out fire safety audit of dedicated Covid hospitals

SC directs states to carry out fire safety audit of dedicated Covid hospitals

The Supreme Court on Friday asked all states and Union Territories to set up committees to conduct monthly fire safety audit of hospitals, including the COVID-19 ones.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan — which had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of fire accidents in some hospitals in Gujarat — said every state must to appoint a nodal officer responsible for ensuring adherence to fire safety norms in hospitals.

Hospitals not having no objection certificates (NOCs) from fire department must get it at the earliest or face action, it said.

The Bench also directed states and UTs to ensure that all guidelines and norms pertaining to COVID-19 were implemented.

The top court asked the government to devise a mechanism to give rotational break to doctors and healthcare professionals working continuously since April.

On behalf of the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the court that the government would take a decision very soon.

The Supreme Court on December 15 had asked the Centre to consider granting a break to the doctors engaged in COVID-19 duty for the past seven to eight months, saying continuous work might be affecting their mental health.

“For the past seven-eight months, doctors have not been given any break and are continuously working. You take instruction and think over giving them some break. It must be very painful and might be affecting their mental health,” it had said.

Last month, the Bench had taken suo motu cognisance of Rajkot hospital fire that claimed six lives.

Terming it shocking, it had sought a report from the Gujarat government. It said the relevant guidelines were not implemented by states and inspection of electrical lines was lax resulting in such accidents frequently. Later, it had sought affidavits from states with details of fire safety audits of hospitals.

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