The Bombay high court was informed on Wednesday that smokers and those who consumed tobacco were affected the most by Covid. A bench of Justices Sunil Deshmukh and Girish Kulkarni has asked the state government to spell out the steps it will 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 on smokers.
“The report concluded that smokers can be hit the most by Covid,” Kumbhakoni said, adding that a detailed affidavit on this will be submitted on the next hearing.
Justice Kulkarni said, “Kumbhakoni you need to mention the probable steps you propose to take to protect these citizens. You can spell out what action you propose to undertake in this regard.”
Meanwhile, the bench was informed that there are 4,318 active cases of mucormycosis aka black fungus in the state and the death toll is at 675.
“There have been 75 deaths in one week. We are checking if all these are for want of drug or death despite being administered the drug,” Kumbhakoni said.
He added 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, will be made available between June 18 and 20. Till June 30, the remaining 18,000 vials will be supplied,” he said.
Further, senior counsel Anil Sakhare, representing the BMC, told the bench that 114 locals and 310 citizens from other districts are currently getting treated at the BMC-run centres.
Meanwhile, additional solicitor general Anil Singh submitted that the Union government is taking all steps to enhance the production of Amphotericin-B. “We are not leaving any stone unturned. The scarcity of this drug has become a global issue,” Singh said.
The matter will come up for hearing on Friday.
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