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HC asked Delhi govt why it's not allowing private labs, hospitals to conduct antigen tests

ANI | Updated: Jun 22, 2020 19:15 IST

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Delhi government why it was not allowing private labs and hospitals dealing COVID-19 patients to conduct rapid antigen tests and noted that it has not been able to meet its own targets of conducting the same in the national capital.
A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice S Prasad observed that Delhi Government is not able to meet half of its target estimated for conducting rapid antigen tests in the national capital.
The court was hearing a plea of advocate Rakesh Malhotra, seeking directions to allow the private labs and private hospitals which are treating COVID-19 patients to conduct rapid antigen tests for identifying the infected people.
Appearing for Delhi Government, Advocate Satyakam, on oral instructions told the court that the government had kept a target of doing 22,000 tests in a day in the eleven districts of the state. However, he submitted that only around 9,356 rapid antigen tests were conducted on June 21.
The court noted that it was not even 50 percent of estimated targets and added that the estimates should be reasonable. "Why can not you (Delhi government) allow antigen testing in all private places," the court asked.
Advocate Satyakam said that rapid antigen tests are being conducted on the trial basis for a week from June 18 and added that they will decide the future course of action after one week of trial. Now it is being conducted in the containment zone, he submitted.
Thereafter, the court listed the matter for further hearing on June 25.
Earlier, the high court had directed all the private hospitals in Delhi to reserve 20 percent beds for admitting COVID-19 patients, who are equipped with labs to conduct the COVID-19 test and have the sanction of the ICMR to do so, should proceed to conduct tests on symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, who seek admission in the hospital for undergoing surgeries or other procedures of other nature as well.
The court was hearing an application seeking to increase the number of laboratories that can undertake tests for COVID-19 and ramp up the testing process in respect of asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. The application was filed by advocate Sanjeev Sharma on a petition of advocate Rakesh Malhotra, which was disposed of by the bench on May 4. (ANI)

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