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New Delhi:

 
The Supreme Court on Wednesday termed doctors, nurses and healthcare workers as warriors in the fight against coronavirus and said they need to be protected.

The observation from the apex court came while hearing petitions concerning protective gear for doctors and healthcare workers on the frontline amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The hearing was conducted through video conferencing.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, assured a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Ravindra Bhat that adequate steps and measures have been taken by the authorities to protect the doctors and healthcare staff. The petition’s primary focus was on providing protective gear, including hazmat suits, personal protective equipment (PPE), masks and other essentials for medical and healthcare professionals involved in the treatment of the coronavirus patients.

Mehta contended before the court that the government is taking every measure to protect the medical professionals and healthcare workers, terming them “corona warriors”, from the deadly infection.

The court observed that the government is already getting inputs from everywhere, and it could explore creating a mechanism at district level where nodal officers can be appointed to get suggestions.

“Why don’t you create a mechanism at the district level where the district magistrate can arrange things as the service sector is working from home. Their well being and mental health is also important”, observed the court.

The top court asked the Centre to consider developing regulatory mechanism for people working from home, medical treatment of people and also other sections of the economy, affected by the outbreak of coronavirus.

Mehta contended before the court that a central control room with officials from various ministries including — home, health, and AYUSH, have been set up to receive calls with complaints and suggestions.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for one of the petitioners, contended before the court that the doctors are afraid given the current scenario, and also cited news reports of coronavirus positive patients escaping from the medical facilities. Mehta contended that police pickets are being placed near hospitals to arrest such incidents.

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