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Consider rapid anti-body tests to ease pressure on hospitals, Bombay HC tells Health Ministry

The court made suggestions after advocate Anup J Gilda on behalf of the petitioner pressed for need to conduct mass rapid anti-body tests and said it can be directed to conduct such tests as the result can be made available within 30 minutes as per ICMR.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | April 9, 2020 11:05:59 pm
rapid anti-body tests, coronavirus testing, bombay high court, health ministry, covid-19, coronavirus india cases  The court also said that strategy for use of the rapid test and home isolation as an alternative to hospital treatment for COVID-19 patients can be considered.

The Bombay High Court Nagpur Bench Wednesday said it would be necessary for the Union Health Ministry to consider whether it can direct authorities to conduct rapid anti-body tests given less time is required to produce results for such tests.

The court also said that strategy for use of the rapid test and home isolation as an alternative to hospital treatment for COVID-19 patients can be considered. “This would enable to ease out the pressure on hospitals at this crucial time,” the court said.

A single judge bench of Justice A S Chandurkar passed an order on April 8 while hearing through video conference the public interest pleas filed by Subhash Zanwar and CH Sharma seeking various reliefs and facilities during COVID-19 pandemic.

The court made suggestions after amicus curie advocate Anup J Gilda on behalf of the petitioner pressed for need to conduct mass rapid anti-body tests and said it can be directed to conduct such tests as the result can be made available within 30 minutes as per Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). This would also facilitate early action to cure the virus, he argued. Follow Coronavirus LIVE news updates

The plea also sought from court the medical facilities and preventive measures to the prisoners lodged in jails across Maharashtra. In view of this, it was submitted by the state government through advocate D P Thakre that the Superintendent of the Nagpur Central Prison had formed separate quarantine barrack and fifteen isolation wards are reserved inside the jail.

The plea also sought from the court well-being of migrant workers stuck due to travel restrictions, to which the state submitted that meals have been provided through ‘Shivbhojan Thaali Yojana’ at various centres in the state at the rate of Rs. 5 for a period of further three months to facilitate migrants, homeless persons and daily wage workers and that shelter homes have also been created for them. Moreover, it was submitted that Nagpur District administration has isolated around 30 persons who had reported about their travel history and visit to the Nizamuddin Markaz last month.

On March 27, after the state government issued directions to private hospitals to prepare isolation wards, the high court had directed authorities running private medical colleges and hospitals across Maharashtra to provide safety gears, including personal protective equipment (PPE) or Hazmat suits, in adequate numbers to all doctors and healthcare workers within a week and stated that it was the ‘need of the hour’ to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Moreover, during last hearing on March 31, citing ‘unfathomable’ hardships faced by migrant workers due to the nationwide lockdown and owing to stoppage of their daily wages, the high court had asked the Maharashtra Government to make arrangements for their stay, food, clothing, sanitation and health check-ups and consider utilising funds from charitable public trusts and Waqf money as per powers given under state Public Trust and Waqf law.

Justice Chandurkar on Wednesday directed the Centre and state to file response to the plea and comply with court’s earlier directions and posted further hearing on April 20.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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