It is not mandatory for every pregnant woman to undergo coronavirus test for admission in hospitals for in-patient care, surgeries or childbirth, the Delhi government informed the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.

Even if a pregnant woman meets the criteria for COVID-19 testing as per Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, she should be tested, but obstetrics (childbirth and midwifery) management would not be delayed.

“In emergent situations, the treatment must not be denied for want of COVID-19 test results,” and the test may be conducted simultaneously as per ICMR testing strategy, the Delhi government stated.

On the issue of time taken for testing and declaration of the results, the Delhi government stated that Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for pregnant women could be done in the health facility itself with the report being available within 30 minutes at the point of care.

In cases with a high index of suspicion, if the RAT test comes out to be negative, the healthcare provider may go for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, in which case the report will be available within 24 hours and latest by 48 hours.

“A pregnant woman, if found positive on testing, is ideally to be transferred to the dedicated COVID-19 hospital for further management once the immediate required care has been provided and she is stable and fit to to be transferred,” the Delhi government said.

Taking note of the affidavit, a Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said it was not going to further monitor the case in view of the clear guidelines put in place by the government.

The High Court disposed of the public interest petition filed by Nikhil Singhvi seeking expeditious testing and speedy declaration of results of pregnant women going to hospitals for child birth.

The petition, filed through advocates Mohit Seth and Vaibhav Agnihotri, had contended that the government and ICMR failed to lay down specific guidelines for pregnant women for COVID-19 testing. The plea had asked for pregnant women to be treated as a different class and given preferential treatment.

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