Swine flu kills 1,158; lawyers stay away from work

New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Mar 3 (PTI) Swine flu claimed the lives of 43 more people taking the toll in the country to 1,158 with Gujarat and Rajasthan reporting maximum deaths sparking panic among lawyers in Ahmedabad where nearly 10,000 of them today stayed away from work.

Health Minister J P Nadda
Health Minister J P Nadda

Data collated by the Health Ministry showed that a total of 1,158 people have died from the respiratory disease across different states while the number of people affected by the H1N1 virus stood at 21,412 as on March 2.

Tuesday’s data showed that in Gujarat 283 people have died while 4,766 people were affected by the disease. In Rajasthan, the death toll reached 277 while 5,715 people were affected. Gujarat state officials said 79 people have died in Ahmedabad while 1,683 people were suffering from the disease.

Health department officials in Delhi have warned that because of the unseasonal rains there could be increase in swine flu cases and that the decline that had taken place last week may not continue.

Health Minister J P Nadda in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday said that from January 1 to February 26 this year, data with his ministry showed that in Gujarat, the highest number of deaths were reported from Ahmedabad (52) while there have been 34 and 29 deaths in Kutch and Surat respectively.

According to Rajesh Parekh, Ahmedabad District Bar Association president, nearly 10,000 lawyers went on a five-day leave due to the swine flu problem.

“As many as 10,000 advocates, who are practising in five courts, including the Ahmedabad district and rural court, metropolitan court, city sessions court, small cause court and family court, will not work from March 3 to March 7 due to the swine flu menace in the city,” Parekh told PTI in Ahmedabad.

However, the lawyers will continue to take urgent matters, like bail petitions of under trial prisoners, he added. The Bar Association on Monday issued a notification, which stated that the recent unseasonal rains can spread the deadly H1N1 virus, he said.

Lawyers practising at the Gujarat High Court distributed masks and placed sanitisers in all the washrooms to protect them from the swine flu.

The Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHAA) has requested the High Court not to take action against the lawyers who do not want to come for hearing of the cases taken up by them, due to the fear of swine flu.

“There are lawyers who are concerned about swine flu and do not want to come till the situation improves. Thus, we requested the court that no adverse action should be taken against those who do not turn up during the hearing of their matter. The High Court accepted our request,” senior lawyer Yatin Oza said.