Labs be not pressured into giving test reports in max 36hrs: HC to Delhi govt

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that accredited laboratories carrying out COVID-19 testing ought not to be pressured into delivering reports within 24-36 hours as this would lead to them turning away people or refuse to take more samples.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said that they have heard there was an order of the Delhi government directing the labs to give the final reports maximum within 36 hours of taking the sample or face action.

The bench said such a measure was 'counterproductive' and 'uncalled for'.

It noted that apparently due to the said order of the Delhi government the number of tests being carried out has gone down since April 19.

The court said there was no need to require generation of reports in 36 hours, particularly when the pandemic was at least four times larger in size than what it was last year.

It said if labs start turning away people or if there is delay in sample collection, then anyone who is infected and has not got tested yet may not isolate himself or herself and could end up spreading the disease.

Responding to the court's observations, Delhi government additional standing counsel Satyakam told the bench that no such order has been passed.

The court took the submission on record and listed the matter for hearing on April 26.

It was hearing a disposed of petition, related to COVID-19 tests, that the high court revived on April 19 in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases. On April 19 and on April 20, it passed a slew of directions on oxygen supply, ramping up testing, increasing beds, shortage of medicines and wastage of vaccines.

The bench said it will hear arguments on the issue of shortage of essential medicines required for treatment of COVID-19 and wastage of vaccines on April 26.

It asked Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta to come with instructions on how to deal with both these issues.

To prevent vaccine wastage, the court had on April 20 suggested that people between ages of 18-45 years be roped in to take the vaccine whenever a few doses are left at the end of each day.

It asked the SG to take instructions from the Centre on this aspect. PTI HMP SKV RKS RKS