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Plea In HC Against Delhi Government Restraining Testing Of Asymptomatic Patients: COVID-19

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A PIL has been filed in Delhi High Court challenging the order of the Delhi Government regarding COVID19 test making it limited to only symptomatic patients and asymptomatic individuals are restricted from being tested. 

In the meanwhile a similar petition filed by a ENT doctor challenging the order of Delhi Government stating that patients who are asymptomatic for COVID19 and are to undergo surgery, whether elective or emergency, are not being given access to COVID-19 test, the petitioner is unable to require her patients to get the COVID-19 test done. 

Petitioner Dr. Manni Hingorani said it could be life threatening for herself, nursing staff, support staff and patient if the patient has to undergo surgery without being teste for COVID-19. In case surgery deferred it could be life threatening for patient and alleged the said office order of Delhi Government has put unreasonable restrictions upon the right of the petitioner to carry out her professional duties as surgeon. She said the guidelines issued by the Delhi Government are contrary to the one issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and further in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioner guaranteed by Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. 

In a petition filed by Abhay Gupta & Ors, petitioners are practicing advocates and have sought quashing of the orders of June 2, issued by the Director General of the Health Services, Government of NCT of Delhi, whereby they have issued new guidelines for testing COVID-19 and made the testing criteria in Delhi tighter than those issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research on May 18 and restricted the access to COVID-19 testing for public at large. 

Petitioners contended the impugned order restricts testing for direct and high risk contact only to those who are diabetic, hypertension, cancer and senior citizen. The change will only make it more difficult for asymptomatic people that have been exposed to infected people to be tested. They said earlier, family members living in the same house or doctors and health care workers exposed to a COVID-19 patient were tested even if they were asymptomatic. 

Petitioners submitted that as the number of COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing and the Government is planning to remove the lockdown slowly, the Delhi Govt should be testing more people, not less, instead they have made COVID-19 testing more restrictive which is completely in contravention of what the experts from the national medical research body ICMR said. 

-India Legal Bureau

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