NEW DELHI: Delhi government on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that it is making all out efforts to conduct high number of COVID -19 tests and from June 18 and June 23, around 1,09,196 samples have already been collected, including 68,041 rapid antigen tests.
Representing Delhi Government, Advocate Satyakam told a Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and S Prasad that from June 18 to June 23, samples have been collected at an average of nearly 18,200 samples per day. During the same period, nearly 41,155 samples were collected for RT-PCR based molecular testing.
The government said that the target initially fixed was of conducting 2,000 Rapid Antigen Test in each of the 11 districts of the national capital and they are trying to reach it.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also informed the court that it has allowed all the private labs and private hospitals to start using Rapid Antigen Testing.
ICMR told the court that all private hospitals approved by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare (NABH) and all private labs accredited by National Accreditation Board for Laboratories (NABL) and approved by ICMR as COVID-19 testing labs are allowed to conduct rapid antigen tests.
It is submitted that in view of the new advisory dated June 23, both the criteria for those who could be tested as well as those who can conduct test has been liberalised to a great extent and may help to augment the testing capacity in the state.
The state government said that as far as the issue of multiple portals including RT PCR App, ICMR Portal, COVID Portal and IDSP Portal is concerned, the private laboratories would be required to make entries only on that of the ICMR. The Government of Delhi will implement the recommendation of the Committee.
After hearing the matter at length, the bench listed the matter for further hearing on July 2.
In the last hearing, the HC had asked the Delhi government why it was not allowing private labs and hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients to conduct rapid antigen tests.
The bench has observed that Delhi Government is not able to meet half of its target estimated for conducting rapid antigen tests in the national capital.
The petitioner and advocate Rakesh Malhotra had urged the court to issue directions to allow private labs and private hospitals which are treating COVID-19 patients to conduct rapid antigen tests for identifying the infected people.
Earlier, the High Court had directed all the private hospitals in Delhi to reserve 20 percent beds for admitting COVID-19 patients, and those which are equipped with labs to conduct COVID-19 test and have the sanction of the ICMR to do so should proceed to conduct tests on symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, who seek admission in the hospital for undergoing surgeries or other procedures of other nature as well.
The court was hearing an application seeking to increase the number of laboratories that can undertake tests for COVID-19 and ramp up the testing process in respect of asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. The application was filed by advocate Sanjeev Sharma on a petition of advocate Rakesh Malhotra, which was disposed of by the bench on May 4.