The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to submit a report and analysis of the serological survey that was recently conducted in the national capital.
A Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad ordered the NCDC to place the report before the court by Wednesday.
Under the survey, blood samples of 21,793 people were tested for antibodies against COVID-19. The Delhi government collected the samples and sent them to the NCDC, which comes under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The survey was done between June 27 and July 5. The results of the survey have not been released.
The High Court was informed that the Delhi government had sent an email to the NCDC on July 11 asking for the sero-survey report, but it has not been provided so far.
Delhi government standing counsel Satyakam said he had personally called up Sujeet Kumar Singh, director of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of the NCDC, on July 12 to enquire about the report only to be told that he had “no business to call him up”.
The Bench told Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma and the Centre’s standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, representing the Ministry of Health, that the court would not accept such kind of “red-tapeism” and asked them to ensure that the NCDC director is present on Wednesday.
The High Court’s direction came on a petition filed in public interest by Rakesh Malhotra, highlighting various issued faced by individuals while conducting tests for COVID-19.
The Delhi government, in its report, said that 9,844 Rapid Antigen Detection (RAT) tests were conducted on July 1, and by July 10, the figure had increased to 11,741. It added that on July 1, 10,697 RT-PCR tests were also conducted, which decreased to 9,526 on July 10.
Mr. Malhotra stated that the report does not specify how many persons had undergone RAT tests and turned out to be COVID-19 negative, and then were made to undergo the RT-PCR test.
He stated that those figures would correctly reflect the extent of ramping up of tests that Delhi government claims it has done. Taking note of the submission, the High Court directed the Delhi government to submit a brief affidavit clarifying the matter.
The Bench also asked the Indian Council of Medical Research to submit an updated affidavit indicating the applications it has received from private hospitals and labs in Delhi seeking authorisation for carrying out RAT tests.