New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that according to experts, the third wave of COVID-19 in the country was inevitable which will affect children and emphasised the need to prepare for the same including vaccinating people of age groups with young children. It asked the Centre to prepare for the third wave well in advance and create a buffer stock to prevent panic among the public.

The top court also held that the Centre's formula to distribute oxygen to state governments, particularly the national capital, was "a gross underestimate".

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah said, "The third surge which is around the corner, according to experts, will affect children. What is the problem in enhancing the supply? It will save from oxygen panic and create a buffer."

The top court told the Centre, which claimed though it supplied 730 MT oxygen on Wednesday, that this much oxygen was not required in Delhi. However, it also emphasised the need for a speedy vaccination process and suggested forming a committee of experts for oxygen audit as sought by the Union government. Earlier, during the hearing, the top court observed that the Centre's oxygen formula requires complete revamp.

If preparations are made right away, we may be able to tackle the third wave for which scientific planning to vaccinate persons would be needed, it said. Elaborating on the third wave, the top court observed that when a child goes to the hospital, the mother and father will also have to go.

"That is why vaccination will have to be over for this group of people. We need to plan for this in a scientific way and thus make an arrangement," it said.

The Centre informed the top court that oxygen supplies may dip to 560 MT in the next two days. But the top court said that supplying 700 MT daily will help Delhi build buffer stock and panic will not be there among people.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted that the government must have a solution thereby, to have a minimum fault-prone formula. "We are not saying that formula is cast in stone. We will revisit the formula," he added.

Justice Chandrachud told Mehta that important points were missed by the Centre's committee, which they, as judges, came across. "We need to deal with it. I'm not saying it's the Centre's fault. I am saying that we need to deal with the third surge in a scientifically planned manner," he noted.

The bench added that if we prepare today, we may be able to handle it, and it also urged the government to explore the possibility of utilising the services of doctors who have completed MBBS and waiting to enrol for PG courses. Under these pressing times, their services could prove crucial for the third wave, it said.

The observations were made by the top court during the hearing of an appeal filed by the Centre challenging the show cause notice for contempt issued against its officers by the Delhi High Court for failing to provide 700 MT of oxygen to Delhi as per top court order.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta