Doctors and health care professionals are 'warriors' in fight against coronavirus and have to be protected, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday even as the Centre assured that it is doing its best by providing them personal protective equipment (PPE) and other facilities.
The court suggested that the government create a mechanism to solicit suggestions from people about how to go ahead on the issues related to COVID-19, including on providing treatment, regulatory mechanism for people working from home and also on lockdown.
A bench of Mr. Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat, hearing through video-conferencing three petitions seeking protective kits for doctors and health care workers, was informed by the Centre that PPE kits and other requisite things are being arranged and it is taking steps in this regard.
The Solicitor General, Mr. Tushar Mehta, who made it clear that he was not opposing the prayers made in these petitions, told the bench that doctors and health care professionals are 'corona warriors' and government is ensuring their protection and safety along with their family members.
He also denied reports about salary cut of doctors and staff of hospitals and said the Centre would write to all the states that no salary should be deducted for purchase of PPEs and masks.
"If anybody is doing something like this (salary cut of doctors and staffs), we will send police," Mehta told the bench, adding, "as an institutional response, we are doing this".
"The government and police will walk an extra mile to protect doctors," Mehta said and added that to ensure safety of family members, doctors are being housed in hotels also.
During the hearing, the bench observed, "Why do you not create a mechanism at district level where nodal officers can be appointed to get suggestions from all persons?"
Responding to the query, Mehta said they have a central control room which has officials from ministries of health, home and Ayush.
He said such control rooms are also there at state level and they are dealing with calls having suggestions and complaints.