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COVID-19 dragon has not been tamed: Delhi HC on spike in cases in the national capital

The Court said that it was not satisfied with the number of testing actually being conducted on ground by the Delhi Government.

Aditi Singh

By no stretch of imagination can it be said that the COVID-19 dragon has been tamed much less slain, Delhi High Court on Monday remarked in view of the rising cases in the national capital. (Rakesh Malhotra vs GNCTD)

Looking at aforesaid rising figures, by no stretch of imagination can it be stated that the COVID-19 dragon has been tamed much less slain. It is looming large in the city and needs to be tackled on priority. This court is therefore not satisfied with the number of testing actually being conducted on ground by the Delhi Government.
Delhi High Court said.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad while dealing with a petition preferred by Advocate Rakesh Malhotra concerning the rate and status of COVID-19 testing in the city.

The Court recorded that while 1250 cases were reported on August 21, the figure shot up to 2024 as on August 30 and the containment zones also increased to 820 from 589.

The Court also observed that although the combined testing capacity of private and public laboratories in Delhi through the RT-PCR mode was 14,000, the actual testing was virtually half of it at 5,000 to 6,000, on an average.

In response, the Delhi Government said that it would "re-strategise its plans of testing", through RAT and RT-PCR.

Expecting the Delhi Governemnt to come up with an Advisory in respect of persons who wish to get themselves tested for COVID-19 infection through RT-PCR, the Court ordered,

Delhi Govt. shall take measures to re-strategise the testing plan in Delhi so that maximum number of persons, who are asymptomatic, can undergo a test through RT-PCR to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, more so, since Unlock-4 has been declared and free movement of people has been permitted in almost all the sectors. While drawing up a fresh guideline, Delhi Govt. shall examine as to whether the necessity of obtaining a prescription from a private doctor for undergoing the RT-PCR should be made mandatory/optional or done away with.
Delhi High Court stated.

The Court also considered the issue of migrant labours who are returning to the national capital.

Many of them may be asymptomatic carriers of the infection and would therefore need to be tested and quarantined, as the case may be, the Court said.

In view of UnLock-4 which has permitted all Intra-State and Inter-State movement, the Court thus opined that the Delhi Government ought to take urgent steps to ensure that testing facilities are set up at all the Inter-state Bus Terminals, within one week.

The Court also considered the "Sero-surveillance" undertaken by the Delhi Government and remarked that it was apparent from the conclusion drawn by of the National Centre for Disease Control that a significant portion of the population remained asymptomatic and thus posed a silent threat to the health system.

It was also noted that the overall sero prevalence in Delhi had increased from 22.8% in the first round to 29.1% in the second, which was a jump of over 20%.

The Court has sought the analysis of the second sero-surveillance as part of the next Status Report to be submitted by the Delhi Government.

Delhi Government was represented by Additional Standing Counsel Satyakam.

Read the Order:

Rakesh Malhotra vs GNCTD - Aug 31.pdf
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