Delhi HC seeks reply from Delhi govt on pleas challenging Covid testing, while Arvind Kejriwal stays isolated with mild symptoms

Delhi HC seeks reply from Delhi govt on pleas challenging Covid testing, while Arvind Kejriwal stays isolated with mild symptoms

The Delhi High Court today asked the Delhi government and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to reply to two pleas challenging the Health Department’s decision to exclude “asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients” from Covid-19 testing.

The high court notice came even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal self isolated himself after complaints of mild fever and a sore throat. Kejriwal, who cancelled all his meetings, had been unwell since Sunday afternoon and hasn’t met anyone since then. The chief minister has isolated himself at his official home in Delhi, and will take a coronavirus test tomorrow.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notices to the authorities on two separate but similar pleas. The petitions were filed by Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee and former president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), and Renu Goswami.

While conducting the hearing through video conferencing, the court listed both the pleas for further hearing on June 22.

Dr Aggarwal, who is also the president of NGO, ‘Heart Care Foundation of India, has sought quashing of the Health Department’s June 2 order, as getting a medical test done is a fundamental right of every citizen. Since COVID-19 is a notifiable disease it is mandatory for all citizens to get themselves tested for the virus, irrespective of whether the patient is symptomatic or asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patient, he stated.

He said people should be allowed to get themselves tested so as to ascertain whether or not they are suffering from Covid-19 and accordingly take immediate and prompt medical treatment.

In the second plea, Goswami has also challenged the legality and validity of the June 2 order, restricting access to COVID-19 tests despite a steady increase in the number of coronavirus cases within the city.

In a different petition, two Delhi University students, who are residents of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, have moved the Delhi High Court against the ‘controversial’ Delhi government order that all hospitals under its authority will admit only bonafide residents of Delhi. According to reports, the plea is likely to be heard by the court within this week only.

The petitioners argued that the Delhi government’s order would adversely affect the health concerns of those who have been living in Delhi but do not have a bonafide proof of residence.

In another development, the Mizoram government today announced that it has decided to impose a complete lockdown in the state in wake of the rising coronavirus cases in the state.

The two-week total lockdown in the state comes into force from tomorrow. Lockdown guidelines will be notified later today.

Eight people have tested positive for coronavirus in Mizoram, taking the total number of cases in the state to 42, an official of the Health department said today.

All the patients between the ages of 21-30 are Delhi returnees and have been placed under quarantine since their arrival to the state, he said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Zoramthanga held a meeting with ministers, health officials, churches and NGOs to discuss the present situation on the spread of the virus and a future course of action to curb the coronavirus pandemic.