THE DELHI High Court Thursday said the Delhi government needs to remain “very focused” on testing and contact tracing while also ensuring that those in home isolation do not move out and spread Covid-19 infection. “The mantra remains aggressive testing and equally aggressive contact tracing,” said the division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, which was hearing advocate Rakesh Malhotra’s petition in which it has been monitoring the capital’s Covid situation.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government informed the court in a reply that it has decided not to impose night curfew.
Questioning the government on its monitoring of movement of Covid patients in home isolation, the court said almost everyone feels unsafe not just because of the infection but the fact that one does not know who the carrier is. It said “testing, testing and testing… tracing, tracing and tracing are very important” to address the anxiety regarding Covid.
“To keep an unabated check on the spread of Covid, level of testing cannot be reduced. Efforts must be made to trace contacts of persons who have tested positive and ensure persons who are symptomatic and in home quarantine adhere to ICMR guidelines,” the court said in the order, directing the Delhi government to apprise it of measures being taken to ensure proper follow-up on contact tracing and that persons in home quarantine do not violate the isolation regime.
The court also said people were still not getting results within 24 hours of samples being taken: “It is still around 48 hours and the trouble is nobody is getting a message on their phone… to tell them what does the report state.” In the order, it directed the state to ensure hospitals and labs do not take more than 24 hours to give the results, and that the same is communicated to patients via SMS.
On plans for a curfew in Delhi, the government said that after assessing the situation, it has taken a considered view to not impose night curfew as of now.
The government also told the court that 10,817 calls were received in November on its Covid helpline number, 1031, and that it is considering whether to enable a feedback system to assess if services are satisfactory. The court was also told 369 suo motu inspections of wedding functions have been conducted by district authorities and in 174 cases, action was taken against defaulters found violating guidelines.
On fines collected from people found violating Covid guidelines, the government said it has collected Rs 17.93 crore against 2.37 lakh challans issued in the 11 districts, and Delhi Police has so far collected Rs 27.68 crore against 5.47 lakh challans.
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