On Wednesday (15th July), AAP Government told the Delhi High Court that all pregnant women are not required to undergo Covid-19 tests when they go to a hospital for obstetrical care (childbirth).
The Delhi Government submitted an affidavit stating that only suspected cases of Covid-19 are to be tested for the viral infection. The submission was made before the bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan. The obstetrical care cannot be delayed for want of testing as stated by the Delhi Government. Additionally, not all symptomatic pregnant women will be tested.
The persons coming from hotspots or the ones who have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 are tested for the viral infection, as per the Government. The court noting the affidavit said that it will not monitor the case any further since the Government has put forth a clear set of guidelines. The bench said, “Enough and adequate steps have been taken to expedite testing and in certain cases, testing is also not required.” The Delhi Government was asked to make sure that the time taken between when a healthcare worker goes for testing of a pregnant woman and when the test is declared should not take more than 24 hours. Further, the Government has been asked to circulate the guidelines on the testing of pregnant women to all government and private hospitals in the union territory. A PIL seeking prompt testing and speedy declaration of test results of pregnant women going to hospitals for childbirth was disposed of by the Court with these directions. On 9th July, the Delhi HC had pulled up the Government for not making it clear if all the pregnant women going to a hospital for delivery or urgent treatment are to be tested for Covid-19, symptomatic or not. It said that a genuine problem has been turned into a ‘bureaucratic nightmare'. An affidavit was filed by the Delhi government earlier stating that the COVID-19 test was not compulsory earlier for admitting pregnant women in hospitals for in-patient interventions, including surgery and deliveries, and in emergent situations, treatment would not be denied just to wait for test results. It was said that the test can be conducted along with the treatment and if the result comes out as positive the pregnant woman would be shifted to a Covid-19 dedicated hospital for further management. Further, the use of Rapid Antigen Testing has been increased at the hospitals to make sure the test results are made available in a quick time and this will help in dealing with the difficulties being faced by the patients including the women. The detailed order has not been released yet.