Not all pregnant women are required to undergo COVID-19 tests when they go to a hospital for obstetrical care (childbirth), the AAP government told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan by the Delhi government on the affidavit which stated that only suspected cases of COVID-19 are tested for the viral infection.
However, obstetrical care cannot be delayed for want of testing, the Delhi government said, adding that not all symptomatic pregnant women would be tested.
Only those coming from hotspots or those who have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 are tested for the viral infection, the government has said.
Taking note of the affidavit, the court said it was not going to further monitor the case as a clear set of guidelines have been put in place by the government.
"Enough and adequate have been taken to expedite testing and in certain cases, testing is also not required," the bench said.
It further asked the Delhi government to ensure that time taken from when a healthcare provider decides to go for COVID-19 testing of a pregnant woman, the sample collection and the declaration of results, all together ought not to take more than 24 hours.
It also asked the government to disseminate the latest guidelines on testing of pregnant women to all of its and private hospitals in the national capital.
With these directions, the court disposed of a PIL seeking expeditious testing and speedy declaration of results of pregnant women going to hospitals for childbirth.
The detailed order is yet to be made available.
On July 9, the court had pulled up the Delhi government for not clarifying whether every pregnant woman who goes to a hospital for delivery or urgent treatment is required to undergo the COVID-19 test, symptomatic or not, saying a genuine problem has been turned into a "bureaucratic nightmare".
The high court had also said if the test is required then sample collection and declaration of results should be done in a minimum period of time.
Delhi government had earlier filed an affidavit stating 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 comes out to be positive, the pregnant woman would ideally be transferred to a dedicated COVID-19 hospital for further management, the Delhi government had told the high court.
It had also said that it has "expanded" the use of Rapid Antigen Testing at hospitals to ensure the availability of test results in quick time and this will further take care of difficulties being faced by people/patients, including pregnant women.