New Delhi [India], December 3 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to ensure that persons who are symptomatic and in home quarantine, adhere to the guidelines prescribed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to keep a check in a surge of COVID-19 cases in the national capital.
The division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad's direction came while observing that the positivity rate is above 5 per cent in the national capital and even as of Wednesday, there were about 4,000 new cases of the COVID-19 infection.
The Delhi Government in its COVID-19 status report stated that between November 25 to December 1, 5,28,670 tests were conducted, out of which, 2,48,700 tests were done by adopting the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) method and 2,46,635 tests were done through RT-PCR and other methods.
"To keep an unabated check on the spread of COVID-19 infection, the level of testing cannot be reduced. Efforts must be made to trace the contacts of persons who have tested positive and ensure that persons who are symptomatic and in home quarantine, adhere to the guidelines prescribed by the ICMR," the division bench observed.
"Delhi Government is directed to state the measures that are being taken to ensure proper follow-up on contact tracing and to ensure that persons who are home quarantined, do not violate the isolation regime. In other words, the mantra remains aggressive testing and equally aggressive contact tracing," it added.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi and Additional Standing Counsel Satyakam, appearing on behalf of the Delhi Government, told the court that frequent meetings are being held with the Market Welfare Associations and the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) for spreading awareness about maintaining appropriate COVID behaviour. So far, more than 3,546 meetings have been conducted with Market Welfare Associations and RWAs.
The court noted that the status report filed by the Delhi government does not reveal the relevant suggestions given by the various RWAs and the steps taken for implementing the said suggestions.
Henceforth, the court directed the Delhi government to file a status report, informing about the suggestions received from various Market Committees and RWAs, what it proposes to do in respect thereof and the timeline for implementation.
In order to ensure compliance with the directions of the Delhi Government regarding the conduct of marriage functions and other social functions, 297 suo moto inspections have been conducted and violations were noticed in 66 cases and actions have been taken against the violators, the court was informed.
The Delhi Government submitted that after assessing the present situation that it has taken a decision not to impose night curfew in Delhi or some of its part, however, an order dated November 28 has been issued to maintain status-quo with respect to permitted/restricted activities in Delhi including celebrating festivals, marriages, inter-state movement of buses, etc till December 31.
Another order has been passed by the Delhi Government on November 20, directing 50 per cent of the employees (below Grade-I) of non-essential services/departments of the Government of NCT of Delhi/ Corporations/ PSUs/ local bodies etc to work from home. Directions have also been issued to private establishments to stagger their office timings and reduce the number of employees attending the office at the same time, the Delhi Government informed the court.
"It is unclear from the status report as to how much impact would this order actually have on a real-time basis as it does not cover Central Government employees and is only recommendatory in nature qua private establishments," the court said adding that these facts shall be indicated in the next status report.
The Delhi Government was also directed by the court to ensure that the hospital and labs do not take more than 24 hours to give the results of the tests and the said results are communicated to the patients by sending an SMS on their mobile phones within 24 hours.
The court directed the Delhi Government to file a status report and listed the matter for December 14 for further hearing.
The court was hearing the petition filed by advocate Rakesh Malhotra seeking large-scale testing in the national capital to identify COVID-19 infections. (ANI)