Law

Telangana High Court Criticises State's COVID-19 Testing Strategy

The court noted that the proportion of RT-PCR tests conducted in the state was less than 10% of total diagnostic tests in some districts.

New Delhi: The Telangana high court on Tuesday pulled up the state government for its poor COVID-19 testing strategy, asking it to file a fresh status report within 48 hours informing the court of steps taken to prevent the situation from worsening.

According to The Hindu, a bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, hearing a public interest litigations on COVID-19 related issues, directed the government to explain its plan to check the second wave of infections.

The court noted that the proportion of RT-PCR tests conducted in the state was less than 10% of total diagnostic tests in some districts. The court observed that despite experts’ opinion that the accuracy of RT-PCR tests is much higher than the rapid antigen test, the state government has been prioritising the latter.

“[This] leaves a lot to be desired about the government’s move to conduct more of those tests and much less RT-PCR tests which were said to be giving reliable results,” the court noted, according to The Hindu.

The state government’s conduct of diagnostic tests was described as “pathetic” by the chief justice, warning that the state cannot cannot afford to go slow on conducting tests”. It used figures provided by the government, saying that in Warangal Urban district, only 1,400 RT-PCR tests were done and 4,000 rapid antigen tests were conducted.

“Why the state is not doing 24/7 vaccination while some other states were doing? What have you done to check occupancy rate in hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars? Are you controlling number of people assembling at marriages and death ceremonies?” Chief Justice Kohli asked the advocate general.

The court said that while it may not be necessary to shut hotels and restaurants, the government should take steps to reduce the occupancy rate to bring down incidence of COVID-19.

Like other parts of the country, there has been a sharp rise in new cases of COVID-19 in Telangana. On Monday, the state recorded 1,095 new cases. This rose to 1,498 on Tuesday. So far, the total number of cases in Telangana stands at 3,14,735. The number of active cases has shot-up to 9,993.