Delhi HC Directs State Government to Reduce Time to Obtain COVID-19 Test Results of Pregnant Women

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For catering to the issues faced by pregnant women, a person filed a PIL. The petitioner prayed before the Court to direct the respondents to issue guidelines for COVID-19 testing. It laid down issues about priority testing, expeditious proceeding and declaration of results of pregnant women. The single-bench judge comprised of Justice Prateek Jalan took cognizance of the case and dismissed the petition.

Brief Facts of the Case

The petitioner filed a petition to present the difficulties faced by pregnant women in testing for COVID-19. The petition also concerned about the time taken to process the results. As a matter of fact, most of the hospitals and nursing homes require pregnant women to undergo COVID-19 test to get admitted for delivery. However, the whole testing process takes considerable time. Moreover, during the process, the woman is kept in isolation or with unrelated persons.

Arguments Before the Court

The learned counsel for the petitioner contends the validity of the test due to the delay created by the hospital authorities. The opposite counsel on behalf of ICMR placed reliance upon its ‘Strategy for COVID-19 testing in India’. They submitted that all COVID-19 testing labs have been directed to give reports of all samples collected within 24 hours and not later than 48 hours. Also, not every pregnant woman has to go through the testing. Those who are COVID-19 positive or under the suspect of COVID-19 will go through the process.

Court’s Ruling

The Delhi High Court directs the respondents to disseminate guidelines to all hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare providers, involved in providing care to a pregnant woman. The guidelines decipher the there must not be denied in admission to hospitals and other institutions. Moreover, there should not be any delay on account of waiting for the test results. They laid down the need for making the results available within the period of 24 hours. It might go up to 48 hours only in exceptional circumstances.

The Court disposed of the writ petition ensuring that outer limits are made to collect the samples. The results of the test can also come within a shorter time.


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