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FPJ Legal: COVID-19 adversely affects smokers and tobacco consumers, Maha govt tells Bombay HC

02:55 PM Jun 16, 2021 | Narsi Benwal

The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sunil Deshmukh and Girish Kulkarni was on Wednesday informed that COVID-19 makes a worst impact on smokers and tobacco consumers. The HC has asked the Maharashtra government to spell out steps it proposes to take to protect such 'vulnerable' citizens.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state informed the bench that the Tata Memorial Center has submitted a report on June 15 citing several studies conducted globally on the impact of COVID-19 on smokers.

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"The report has concluded that smokers can be worst affected by COVID-19," Kumbhakoni submitted adding that a detailed affidavit on this issue as well as the report would be submitted on the next date of hearing.

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"Mr ASG you need to mention the probable steps you propose to take to protect these vulnerable citizens. You can spell out what action you propose to undertake in this regard," Justice Kulkarni ordered.

Meanwhile, the bench was informed that there are total of 4,318 active cases of Mucormycosis aka Black Fungus in the state and that the deaths across the state have reached the 675 mark.

At this, the bench noted that the deaths last week were 600 and now there are 675 deaths.

"There are 75 deaths in one week. We are checking whether all these deaths are for want of drug or death despite being given the drug," Kumbhakoni submitted.

The AG further said that the supply of Amphotericin-B continues to be insufficient. "Haffkine Institute has informed that 22,000 vials of Amphotericin-B, the essential drug for treating Black Fungus, would be made available between June 18 and June 20. And then till June 30, remaining 18,000 vials will be supplied," he said.

Notably, the institute was to supply the consignment by June 10 but is now delayed.

Further, senior counsel Anil Sakhare for BMC told the bench that 114 local Mumbaikars and 310 citizens from other districts are presently getting treated in BMC services.

Meanwhile, additional solicitor general Anil Singh submitted that the Union goverment is taking all possible efforts to enhance the production of Amphotericin-B. "We aren't leaving any stone unturned. I can say that we will supply the drug only when it is available in the country. The scarcity of this drug has become a global issue," Singh submitted.

The judges further sought to know about the new dashboard that the state proposed to launch soon. It opined that the dashboard must give details of nearby districts too.

The bench has adjourned the matter for hearing till Friday.

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