Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ. while addressing a petition with concern in regard to COVID-19 tests being conducted in Delhi, it held that,
“adequate remedial measures have been taken by Delhi Government to expedite receipt of reports for testing patients for COVID-19 infection.”
Advocate General, Rakesh Malhotra filed the present petition raising the grievance that GNCTD has not been taking expeditious steps to furnish reports after conduction of COVID-19 Tests on suspected people within a reasonable time of 48 hours or even earlier, due to which contact tracing is getting delayed and the deadly infection is multiplying rapidly in Delhi.
Petitioner attached a copy of Chief Medical Officer, Delhi’s Twitter Account handle wherein he states that the same is not being updates regularly with regard t the test results.
Learned ASC, Satyakam appearing for GNCTD stated that he has sent some documents by Whatsapp to the Court Masters adding to this he stated that he has also furnished information received from department concerned to Anurag Ahluwalia, CGSC and the petitioner.
Bench on perusal of the above documents, noted that
an order dated 29.4.2020, issued by the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, GNCTD which reflects a decision taken by GNCTD vide order dated 22.4.2020 that till 03.05.2020, no sample shall be sent to NIB, Noida due to the delay in forwarding the reports, spreading over 15 days.
The order further states that samples shall be distributed among other government and private labs to ensure that the reports are received within one day from the date of submission to the respective labs.
Further Mr Satyakam, ASC clarified that the aforesaid order shall continue to operate for atleast 2 more weeks. As on date, there are 23 accredited labs that undertake COVID-19 testing in Delhi, out of which 10 are public sector and 13 private. Collective capacity of the aforesaid labs is 3000-3500 tests per day.
Adding to the above, ASC also submitted that, after finding that the reports were not being received within a reasonable time from NIB, Noida, GNCTD has stopped sending any further samples to NIB, Noida. Till the night of 03.05.2020, 3,790 reports are stated to be pending with the accredited labs and the said reports shall be received by today or maximum, by tomorrow.
Thus, Court in view of the submissions made by ASC appearing for GNCTD is satisfied that the adequate remedial measures have been taken by Delhi Government to expedite receipt of reports for testing patients for COVID-19 infection.
It is directed that Delhi Government shall continue updating its website on a regular basis to reflect the correct number of COVID-19 tests being conducted with specification of negatives and positives. [Rakesh Malhotra v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 574 , decided on 04-05-2020]