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Give priority in treatment to elderly amid pandemic: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that elderly people be given priority in admission and treatment at private hospitals besides at government medical institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and R S Reddy modified its earlier order of August 4, 2020, by which it had directed only government hospitals to give priority in admission and treatment of elderly people looking at their vulnerability to coronavirus.

The bench took note of submission of senior advocate Ashwani Kumar, petitioner in-person that except Odisha and Punjab no other state has given details about the steps taken in pursuance of the earlier directions issued by the top court on his plea.

The top court granted three weeks’ time to all the states to respond to the fresh suggestions made by Kumar to provide relief to the elderly people.

During the hearing, Kumar said the states need to issue fresh Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in pursuance to the directions issued by the court.

He said the court may issue directions to the health and social welfare departments of all states in this regard.

The order was passed on the plea filed by former Union minister and senior advocate Kumar, who has sought directions with regard to elderly people saying they need more care and protection amid the pandemic.

The top court had last year directed that all eligible old age persons should be regularly paid pension and states should provide them necessary medicines, masks, sanitisers and other essential goods in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The apex court had said that looking at their vulnerability to coronavirus, elderly people should be given priority in admission in government hospital and in the event of any complaint made by them, the hospital administration shall take immediate steps to remedy their grievances.

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