The Delhi High Court yesterday (July 14) directed the Delhi Government and ICMR to file a brief affidavit, detailing the number persons who had undergone the Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RAT) test and, having turned out to be COVID negative, were made to undergo the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) RT PCR test.
The bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad was hearing a plea filed by advocate Rakesh Malhotra through video conferencing. Malhotra alleged that the state government was not taking expeditious steps to furnish test reports within a reasonable time of 48 hours or even earlier due to which contact tracing was getting delayed and the infection was multiplying rapidly.
An affidavit has been filed by the ICMR and Delhi Government on Tuesday. The affidavit submitted by the Delhi Government, Director General, Health Services stated: “To augment testing for detecting COVID-19 infection, and to make it more accessible to the general public, all Delhi Government hospitals have been asked to undertake Point of Care Testing in the form of Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RAT) of eligible individuals in terms of an order issued on 5.7.2020.”
The order further stated: “To expand COVID-19 testing, an order has been issued on 9.7.2020 wherein, it has been decided that RAT test would be offered in all the Delhi Government-run dispensaries and polyclinics on all working days, from 9 am to 12 noon. The government of NCT has also decided to ensure that the Special Surveillance Groups are tested on priority.”
Counsel Satyakam, appearing for the Delhi government, submitted that the Delhi government has concluded sero-surveillance sample collection and is awaiting a report from the National Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, and the said report shall be placed on record by tomorrow (July 15) with an advance copy to the counsel.
The affidavit filed by the ICMR also states: “450 applications have been received from private hospitals and laboratories in Delhi for seeking authorization to undertake the RAT test, out of which 150 applications have been allowed and 300 applications are pending on account of certain procedural formalities required to be completed by the applicants.”
Rakesh Malhotra, petitioner in person, stated that the computed statement filed by the Delhi government does not reflect how many persons had undergone the RAT tests and, having turned out to be COVID negative, were then made to undergo the RT PCR test.”
The Court has also directed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to file an affidavit revealing the analysis arrived at on the basis of Sero-surveillance sample testing undertaken all over Delhi. The Court has discharged the counsel for the private laboratories as there were no further queries relating to them that are pending consideration in this matter.
The matter is listed for July 16.
Read the order here;72410_2020
– India Legal Bureau