Provide actual data on COVID-19 tests, positive patients: Gujarat HC to govt

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Ahmedabad, Apr 16 (PTI) Stressing on the need to be honest and transparent in the wake of a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in Gujarat, the High Court has asked the state government to publish actual data on RT-PCR tests and people found positive for COVID-19, according to an order made available on Friday.

The Gujarat HC observed that transparency is needed to remove general conception from the minds of people that data shared by the government on COVID-19 tests and positive cases was not accurate.

These observations were made by a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia in their order.

The bench is hearing a PIL, taken up suo motu (on its own), on the coronavirus outreak in the state which has seen a spurt in cases in the recent weeks.

While the last hearing on the PIL was conducted on Thursday, a detailed order was made available the next day by the bench. The next hearing would take place on April 20.

'Accurate reporting of RT-PCR testing (considered gold standard in diagnostic testing) with correct figures of positive results be made public. The state should not feel shy of publishing the correct data of RT-PCR testing results, if such figures are not being correctly reported,' said the bench.

The HC said though the government was not responsible for the sudden spike in cases, 'the state should publish data by making efforts to find out actual number of Covid positive cases so as to remove general conception from the minds of the people that data given by the state is not accurate'.

The bench noted that the government will gain nothing by hiding the real picture on the pandemic.

'The state has nothing to gain by hiding real picture and hence suppression and concealment of accurate data would generate more serious problems, including fear, loss of trust and panic amongst public at large,' it noted.

The High Court advised the government to establish an 'honest and transparent dialogue' with the public to generate trust amongst public. The bench observed that such trust would eventually 'persuade the public at large to strictly abide by the standard protocol of wearing mask in this grave situation'.

On the plight of people running from one hospital to another in search of beds for their relatives, the bench asked the Rupani government to create an 'on­line portal giving details of the availability of vacant beds and occupied beds under different categories for Covid patients for all districts'. PTI PJT PD RSY RSY