Observing that the State and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should take all possible steps to reduce time required for making available Covid19 test reports, the Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the state to issue directions to laboratories and hospitals to inform those coming for the swab test about their obligation to go for home isolation till the report is available.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Alok Aradhe said:
"As observed on earlier date, there is a time gap between person getting intimated of tested positive and visit of paramedic and team of BBMP at his residence. This time is very crucial as delay, can result in spread of COVID19. This will be so in case of asymptomatic patient because he may not be in home quarantine after he submits his sample for test. State and BBMP must ensure that time lag between test report and visit of BBMP team is curtailed to the minimum."
Further it added that
"After a person receives a report or SMS that he is tested positive, considering the state of mind of such a patient, he needs to be informed immediately what action he is supposed to take. He must be informed that in case he is asymptomatic and does not have facility of home isolation he can go to private CCC. In case his condition requires admission to hospital he has freedom of approaching private hospitals the list of which is available on the portal of BBMP. He should also be informed that any event team of BBMP will visit his residence."
After going through the circular issued by the government regarding facilities required for home isolation the bench said
"In very few cases ideal isolation facilities will be available to a person who has tested positive. If a person who is having ILI symptoms test positive, continues to stay at home which is not suitable as an isolation facility, he may become a source of spreading infection of virus. This grey area has to be addressed by the State and BBMP. A person who goes to the testing centre and falls in the category B is immediately advised home quarantined. If home does not qualify for home isolation he should be moved to CCC. Considering large number of cases which are reported in the city, state should take appropriate steps to curtail the time limit for test results."
In its written submission the state government informed the court that it has issued an order under section 24 (f) of the disaster management act directing private hospitals to reserve 50 percent beds for State and BBMP to be used for treating Covid patients. However, the court said
"The said order does not deal with the issue of denial of admission to Covid-19 patients on beds which are not reserved for state or BBMP. State will consider whether such directions can be issued to private hospitals in relation to beds which are not reserved and available to covid19 patients subject to payment of charges. State to consider whether a direction can be issued to private hospitals not to deny admission to any Covid-19 patient if beds are available and if the person is willing to pay charges."
The bench has also asked the state to issue a direction to private hospitals that non-covid patients cannot be refused treatment by private hospitals unless they bring a test report of covid19, test.
On the report submitted by the District Legal Aid Services Authority the bench about the non active CCC in the city. The bench directed the state to look into the same. The bench also asked the BBMP to place on record steps taken to resolve the issues regarding not providing safety equipments to pourakarmikas. 23 pourakarmikas have tested positive in a random checking done in one ward and till now five have expired after being infected with Covid19.
The court will continue to hear the matters on July 23.
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