NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Aam Aadmi Party government to update it on the latest Covid-19 testing strategy in the capital.
A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad asked the government to file a fresh status report before October 20, informing it if any strategy had been finalised to ramp up testing by RT-PCR – a concern repeatedly flagged by the court, which was hearing a PIL in this regard.
Last week, the government had told the court that an expert committee was involved in restrategising the testing capacity and also reviewing the overall strategy required to be followed by the government, which was awaiting the recommendations.
The government sought time after the court criticised it for “frittering away” a part of its RT-PCR testing capacity, saying its numbers were “abysmally low” when the number of Covid-positive cases were averaging around 3,500-4,000 per day.
The high court said while Delhi government had a testing capacity of 15,000 RT-PCR tests per day, around 4,000 of it was being unutilised. This indicated that despite the court’s emphasis on ramping up RT-PCR tests, “it has not activated Delhi government adequately”, the bench observed.
It added that, while the number of rapid antigen tests (RAT) conducted from September 14-27 was 45,212, tests by RT-PCR and other modes in the same period averaged around 10,280, which was “abysmally low” and “pathetic”.
“Against the testing capacity of 15,000 through RT-PCR and other similar tests (like CBNAAT and TrueNAT) per day available in Delhi, the actual number of tests being conducted using this mode is still around 11,000 per day. In other words, though Delhi has the capacity of conducting 15,000 RT-PCR tests per day, 4,000 per day were being frittered away unutilised, which does not make any sense when the cases during the period between September 14 and 27 remain in the range of 3,500-4,000 per day,” the court said.
The AAP government now has to furnish in its latest status report details about the tests conducted till October 19.

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