A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that those hospitals, whose fire NOC has expired, will have to get it renewed within four weeks.

File photo of the Supreme Courts main buildingFile photo: PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Friday, December 18, 2020 - 12:31

The Supreme Court on Friday directed all the states to carry out a fire safety audit of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals across the country to prevent fire incidents in medical institutions. The apex court also directed dedicated COVID-19 hospitals to take a no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department within four weeks and said that failure to do so will invite punitive action.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that those hospitals, whose fire NOC has expired, will have to get it renewed within four weeks. The bench, also comprising justices RS Reddy and MR Shah, said that the issue of political rallies and observance of COVID-19 guidelines will be looked into by the Election Commission.

The apex court had earlier taken cognisance of a fire incident in a designated COVID-19 hospital in Gujarat's Rajkot in which several patients had died. In August a fire broke out at Hotel Swarna Palace in Vijayawada, a COVID care centre being run by Ramesh Hospitals in Andhra Pradesh. 10 people died and several others were injured in the incident.

Meanwhile, India's COVID-19 caseload rose to 99.79 lakh with 22,890 new infections being reported in a day, while total recoveries crossed the 95 lakh-mark, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Friday. With 338 more fatalities, the death toll reached 1,44,789, while the total COVID-19 cases mounted to 99,79,447, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 95.20 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 95.40%. The COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45%.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 15.89 crore samples have been tested so far with 11.13 lakh samples being tested on Thursday. The health ministry stressed that more than 70% of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation. 

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