While hearing a petition seeking swift testing for coronavirus and declaration of results within two days, on Thursday Delhi HC noted that the Delhi government isn’t using the private labs for Covid-19 testing to their “optimum capacity” even when they have “no hesitation”.
“… the testing facilities of the private laboratories are not being used to their optimum capacity, though they have not expressed any hesitation in ramping up the number of testing,” observed a division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and S. Prasad after noting that while the government’s affidavit states that the testing capacity has increased to 10,700 tests per day, the AAP government’s website shows not more than 7,000 tests are carried out per day.
The court’s observation came in while hearing an application filed by advocate Sanjeev Sharma who highlighted several occasions where non-Covid patients needing immediate medical procedures are required to undergo testing but this isn’t possible because hospital can’t do the test as it is prohibited by the government.
Sharma’s application was filed in the main matter filed by advocate Rakesh Malhotra who had sought rapid Covid-19 testing and declaration of results in 48 hours.
Keeping in view the current spike in the number of cases, the high court asked a LG formed committee to advise the Delhi Disaster Management Authority to examine the issues raised by the private labs with regard to the difficulties faced by them and resolve it.
“In view of the urgency in the matter and being mindful of the fact that the number of Covid-19 cases in Delhi have shot up to 47,102, as of June 17, it is imperative that the Committee takes an emergent decision and communicates the same to the court, through the Delhi Government well before the next date,” the court said while posting the main matter for hearing on June 22.
The court also asked Centre’s standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia to obtain instructions from the NABL in respect of the new procedure that they have decided to adopt for re-accreditation of private laboratories to undertake the Covid-19 test.
Malhotra, through his petition, had raised a grievance that the Delhi government is not taking expeditious steps to furnish reports after conducting tests for Covid-19 on suspected people, within a reasonable time of 48 hours or even earlier and as a result of the said delay, contact tracing is also getting delayed and the infection is multiplying rapidly in Delhi.