The Delhi High Court Tuesday expressed displeasure over delay on part of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in supplying results of a serological survey of more than 21,000 people conducted by the Delhi government.
A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad directed the NCDC, which comes under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to place before it the report related to the sero survey by Wednesday. The court’s directions were issued after Delhi government’s additional standing counsel Satyakam apprised the bench that the state had concluded sample collection for the survey, but was awaiting a report from the NCDC.
He further submitted that the Delhi government had by July 4 collected about 22,000 samples, out of which about 21,300 samples had been selected for study and sent to NCDC. The survey was undertaken to assess the spread of Covid in the national capital.
Satyakam further apprised the court that the report was sought from the NCDC on July 11 and an email was sent as well, but it has not been provided so far.
The advocate also contended that he had personally called the NCDC Director on the evening of July 12 enquiring about the report, only to be told that he had no business to call him up.
Hearing this, the bench remarked that in case of “this kind of red-tapism” from the NCDC, it will get “the officer to assist us instead of the counsel”.
“What kind of behaviour is this,” the bench remarked, while also stating that the Delhi government has been mentioning the sero survey to determine the extent of the virus spread, but its results remain unknown.
Satyakam submitted: “We are State. We were supporting this kind of research, so we have collected the data on their (NCDC’s) behalf and sent it to them. Now they (NCDC) have to do the study and get back to us.”
Listing the matter for July 16, the bench stated that “the affidavit to be filed by NCDC shall reveal the analysis arrived at on the basis of sero survey sample testing undertaken all over Delhi”.
It also directed the Delhi government to file a brief affidavit clarifying petitioner-advocate Rakesh Malhotra’s contention that the statement filed by the Delhi government does not reflect how many persons who had taken rapid antigen test (RAT) and tested negative were made to undergo the RT-PCR test.
Additional solicitor general Chetan Sharma and central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), contended that 450 applications have been received from private hospitals and labs in Delhi seeking authorisation to undertake rapid antigen test, out of which 150 have been allowed, and 300 applications are pending on account of certain procedural formalities.
To which, the bench directed that an updated affidavit be filed by ICMR before the next date.
Healthworkers to be assigned to critical patients
Each critical Covid-19 patient in the city will have to be assigned one healthcare worker each round the clock to ensure close monitoring, Delhi principal secretary health Vikram Dev Dutt said in an order Tuesday.
The city recorded 1,606 new cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 1,15,346. The death toll rose to 3,446 as 35 more people were reported dead. The city’s recovery rate has risen to almost 81%. 4,194 people are still hospitalised while 10,695 are under home isolation.
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