The AAP government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that prior COVID-19 test was not mandatory for admitting pregnant women in hospitals for in-patient interventions, including surgery and deliveries, and in emergent situations, treatment would not be denied for want of test results.
The test can be conducted simultaneously with the treatment and if the result come out to be positive, the pregnant woman would ideally be transferred to a dedicated COVID-19 hospital for further management, the Delhi government told the high court.
It also told a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan that it has "expanded" the use of Rapid Antigen Testing at hospitals to ensure availability of test results in quick time and this will further take care of difficulties being faced by people/patients, including pregnant women.
"As regard to admission in hospitals for in-patient interventions including surgery, delivery etc., prior Covid-19 test is not mandatory and in emergent situations the treatment must not be denied for want of COVID-19 test results. The test may be conducted simultaneously as per ICMR testing strategy.
"However, the pregnant woman if found positive on testing is ideally to be transferred to dedicated COVID-19 hospitals for further management," the Delhi government said in its affidavit.
The submissions were made in response to a PIL by a lawyer who has sought that test results of pregnant women be given priority.
The high court on June 22 had remarked that 5-7 days cannot be taken for getting COVID-19 results for pregnant women prior to admitting them in hospitals for child-birth and asked the ICMR and Delhi government to look at expediting it.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in its response filed through central government standing counsel Vivek Goyal, said it has issued guidelines for management of pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic and there are no restrictions for testing pregnant women for COVID-l9 symptoms.
Mr Goyal, during the hearing, said ICMR cannot decide which category of patients should be given priority in testing.
Delhi government, in its response, further said that it is trying its level best to make available and do COVID-19 testing across all sections of the population with possible and justified prioritisation.
The lawyer representing the Delhi government sought more time to file an affidavit with regard to giving priority to tests of pregnant women.
The bench, thereafter, listed the matter for further hearing on July 8.