COVID-19 testing policy: Gujarat HC issues notices to state, ICMR
As per the revised circular on testing policy, tests for certain categories of patients, including symptomatic healthcare workers and patients, can be conducted on the basis of prescription of a private doctor without prior permission of health officers.
Gujarat - The Gujarat High Court has issued notices to the state government and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on a plea challenging a health department circular regarding revised COVID-19 testing policy. The pea, moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Gujarat unit, has challenged the government's circular on COVID-19 testing policy in the state.
The IMA petition has also sought the court's direction to allow asymptomatic health workers to get tested for coronavirus without prior approval of authorities as required under the circular issued by the health department on June 2.
A division bench issued notices returnable on June 19 and tagged the petition with a PIL being heard along with suo motu pleas on various issues related to coronavirus, while granting the IMA freedom to approach the Chief Justice for early hearing in its matter.
The division bench consisted of Justices Sonia Gokani and N V Anjaria. In its plea, the Gujarat chapter of the IMA has sought the court's direction to set aside the circular that requires prior approval for conducting RT-PCR test for asymptomatic frontline healthcare workers.
As per the revised circular on testing policy, tests for certain categories of patients, including symptomatic healthcare workers and patients, can be conducted on the basis of prescription of a private doctor without prior permission of health officers. The IMA plea seeks the HC's direction to the government to test "asymptomatic frontline health workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, pharmacists.
"And also other supportive staff of medical colleges/ hospitals/clinics working in hospitals, containment as well as micro containment zones without seeking any prior or any other kind of approval/permission of the CDHO (Chief District Health Officer) or DHO from GMERS, Sola Civil Hospital," as required under the revised rules. The plea seeks the court's direction to allow private doctors to test asymptomatic frontline for COVID-19 without any prescription and approval from any authority.
As per the circular, symptomatic patients and symptomatic healthcare workers can be tested on the recommendation of doctors. If a patient shows symptoms of coronavirus, he/she should be admitted to hospital and discharged only if test result comes negative, according to the circular.
The government had relaxed COVID-19 testing norms at the direction of the High Court, whose ruling was based on the recommendation of a three-member committee formed by the government. Earlier, for coronavirus test of any patient, private hospitals and doctors required permission of Medical Superintendent of Sola Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad or respective CDHOs or MOs.