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Delhi Govt Shall Ensure That COVID Testing Results Are Conveyed To The Person Within 24 Hours: Delhi HC [Read Order]

Karan Tripathi
21 Oct 2020 5:49 AM GMT
Delhi Govt Shall Ensure That COVID Testing Results Are Conveyed To The Person Within 24 Hours: Delhi HC [Read Order]
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Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Government to submit a status report stating how it is planning to streamline the system to ensure that the testing results are conveyed to the concerned person within 24 hours of taking of the sample. The Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad further noted that if the mobile number of every person tested is taken...

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Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Government to submit a status report stating how it is planning to streamline the system to ensure that the testing results are conveyed to the concerned person within 24 hours of taking of the sample.

The Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad further noted that if the mobile number of every person tested is taken at the time of the testing, there is no good reason why the result should not be communicated on the said mobile number within 24 hours of the samples being sent to the lab for testing.

'There is obviously a lag that must be addressed at the earliest', the court said.

The order has come in a petition moved by Mr Rakesh Malhotra seeking ramping up testing facilities in Delhi.

In the recent status report, the Delhi Government informed the court that at present, over 80% tests are conducted through RAT and in a few districts, about 90-95% tests are conducted through RAT. The current test positivity by RAT is 4.3% and by RTPCR is 20.33%. A majority of the testing has been conducted in camp settings and the people tested were asymptomatic.

The said status report also mentioned the following recommendations forwarded by the Expert Committee constituted by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi:

  1. Timing of the test should be strictly as per the recommendations (i.e. between 5th – 10th day of the last exposure or immediately, if symptomatic).
  2. Turn around time of testing with results to be < 24 hours for timely decision (till the test result – suspected case should be ensured for strict isolation).
  3. All the symptomatic visiting flu/fever clinics should be tested by RT-PCR and optimum utilisation of all labs for RT-PCR testing must be ensured
  4. Criteria for scaling up of testing should be based on positivity in each district (preferably ward) vis-a-vis the total no. of samples tested. It has been specifically observed that in around 6/8 districts where TPR is high but the number of samples collected are quite low."

While observing that the current situation of declaring results is in complete violation of the second recommendation, as the declaration of results is far exceeding the stipulated period of 24 hours, the court highlighted that:

'... the said recommendation is being followed more in violation than in compliance. There have been repeated instances brought to our notice where the turnaround time for declaring the results has been crossing four days, which is most unacceptable when a person tested is required to be isolated in that duration. There have been occasions when the samples collected by the Delhi Government are sent to laboratories that do not entertain any queries for the reports, least over Saturdays and Sundays, leaving the persons concerned in a quandary more so when the Government has declared Un-lockdown 0.5 which requires all employees to report for work regularly; nor can the self-employed persons/professionals be expected to remain in isolation unnecessarily.'

In addition to this, the court directed the ICMR and CSIR to submit affidavits stating whether the new test FELUDA, which has received the clearance from the Drug Control Authority, can be approved for usage.

The court will next take up the matter on November 11.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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