NEW DELHI: Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that there is a possibility that 3 out of 10 persons moving from cities to rural areas are carrying the coronavirus.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta told a bench of CJI S A Bobde and Justice L Nageswar Rao that so far 28 lakh persons have been screened at airports and seaports. As many as 3.5 lakh persons are being monitored, he said.
SG said nearly 22.88 lakh migrant labourers, poor and daily wagers are being provided food and shelter by governments after being stopped enroute to their native places in various states.
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Home Secretary also joined SG in video conference hearing and said, according to central control room 6.63 lakh persons have been provided shelter so far.
HS said as of now no migrant labour is on road. They have been taken to nearest available shelter. “I’m making this statement on record,” he said.
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SG said the single most troubling point in the fight against Covid-19 is the circulation of fake news. The CJI-led bench told government to draw stringent criminal proceedings against those indulging in fake news.
To counter fake news, SG said Centre is setting up a chat box under a separate unit headed by a joint secy in health ministry and including health experts and senior doctors from AIIMS and other hospitals to answer queries from citizens so that they don’t rely on incorrect information.
SG told the SC – “When the virus was detected as threat to mankind, India had only only one lab in Pune. Centre has acted with alacrity as from single lab in Jan 2020, we now have 118 labs across the country now with capacity of 15,000 per day.
SC bench said it will pass detailed order regarding food, shelter and medical aid to migrant labourers stranded mid-way because of lockdown.
SC told SG that panic can kill more than corona virus and that governments should mobilise counsellors as well as religious and community leaders to give hope to persons kept in shelter homes.
SC suggested to SG to rope in community leaders to prevent panic and calm those In shelter homes. “Ensure trained counselors and community leaders belonging to all faith visit relief camps and prevent panic,” it said.
CJI tells governments to entrust management of migrant workers’ shelters to volunteers and not to police. “You ensure that you bring volunteers. There shouldn’t be use of force or intimidation,” he said.