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Monday, September 27, 2021

‘Illegal’ Covid testing at home: HC asks Delhi, Gurgaon police to respond

Delhi’s Special Secretary Health Udit Prakash Rai, in a complaint to the Commissioners of Police of Delhi and Gurgaon in June, had said that the Gurgaon-based entity has been found to be illegally collecting samples.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: September 15, 2021 7:41:43 am
gurgaon news, covid news, gurgaon covid testingThe ICMR, in a reply, told the court that 134 labs -- 35 government and 99 private -- in Delhi have been approved as of August 16 for conducting Covid tests. (Representative image)

The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed Delhi and Gurgaon police to file their responses within two weeks in a contempt petition alleging that authorities have failed to act against online health aggregators illegally collecting Covid samples from people’s homes in Delhi.

While the Delhi government, in a complaint to the police departments, has already identified one such entity, the court said it would be open for the government to identify more such entities who may be in breach of the protocol currently in place for conducting Covid tests. “You have to work a little more on this,” Justice Najmi Waziri told the government.

Delhi’s Special Secretary Health Udit Prakash Rai, in a complaint to the Commissioners of Police of Delhi and Gurgaon in June, had said that the Gurgaon-based entity has been found to be illegally collecting samples, and also violating the confidentiality and privacy law by sharing confidential patient information. However, the counsel representing the government told the court that it was not aware of any action by the police departments.

The court said the Delhi Police should take action on the complaint. “You can’t have people being cheated by entities who are not even licensed to carry out these tests,” it said, while issuing a notice to the police departments.

The ICMR, in a reply, told the court that 134 labs — 35 government and 99 private — in Delhi have been approved as of August 16 for conducting Covid tests. SOPs and standard guidance have been laid down for setting up the labs and 14 mentor institutes exist for implementation, it added. Prior to ICMR approval, the court was told, a certificate from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories is a must for private labs.

The court was hearing a contempt petition alleging that many non-registered online health service aggregators are operating all over the country, including Delhi, collecting samples and providing test reports. A division bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel, in August 2020, had directed authorities to initiate action in accordance with the law against any illegal online health service aggregator.

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