In a report submitted by the state government before the Gujarat High Court on July 16, responding to the demand that any citizen keen on getting tested should be able to do so, the state stated, “there is no question of allowing all asymptomatic persons to go for Covid-19 testing…,” as it would create “unnecessary treatment burden.” The state also submitted that it is permitting asymptomatic frontline health workers and high-risk direct contact to get tested. The High Court is expected to hear the public interest litigation pertaining to Covid-19 on Friday.
The state’s vehement opposition has come purportedly on two grounds, as the report stated. “…firstly, the guidelines do not provide for the testing of asymptomatic persons, and secondly, RT-PCR test’s specificity is around 70 per cent, leading to there being chances of false positives and negative results. This may in turn lead to creation of a false sense of security as well as unnecessary treatment burden.”
The state also relied upon the Supreme Court’s direction wherein it had stated that “non-testing of the patients is not the solution to the problem.” Referring to this, the state government submitted, stressing on ‘patients’, that the SC’s direction to ramp up testing came “in reference with Covid-19 patients as and not each and everyone who is asymptomatic.”
The state responding to another plea where real-time updation of bed availability in hospitals was sought, it submitted that “it is not required to be put on the portal.” The state explained that patients sponsored by the AMC are taken to the hospital in the same zone from where the patient was reported. “Since patients are picked and sponsored by AMC and they do not have to make a choice to go to any particular hospital as per their needs, the data of availability of AMC beds is not required to be put on the portal,” stated the government’s report.