The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked a committee appointed by the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) to immediately convene a meeting “on priority” to chalk out a strategy for increasing the number of RT-PCR tests in the national Capital.

A bench comprising justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad also asked the Delhi government to provide maps of all the community centres and the mohalla clinics where testing would be conducted after it told the court Geospatial Delhi Limited (GSDL) would map test centres in the city.

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The court was hearing a plea by advocate Rakesh Malhotra seeking the scaling up of tests in the city. On the last date of the hearing, the court did away with the provision of asymptomatic persons having to produce a prescription for Covid-19 tests. The bench also asked the Delhi government to put up maps of testing centres at Metro stations.

On Wednesday, the bench expressed its displeasure over the low number of RT-PCR tests conducted between September 8 and September 15, compared to the number of rapid antigen tests (RAT). It posed a query to advocate Satyakam, the additional standing counsel of the Delhi government, as to why the rapid antigen tests were still being conducted when their accuracy is about 60%.

It said that more RT-PCR tests should be conducted because they are more accurate.

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“Having regards to the fact that results of the RAT tests are 60% false-negative leaving a great doubt on the infection in asymptomatic persons, we are of the view that RT-PCR should be increased. Delhi government should focus on soaring tests through RT-PCR as much as possible…,” the court said.

The bench said that since there is an expert committee constituted by the L-G, it should immediately decide on testing more people via the RT-PCR method to get accurate results. It asked the committee to file a report and posted the matter for further hearing on September 30.

During the proceedings, Directorate General of Health Services Nutan Mundeja told the court that they have started mobile testing facilities in a few Metro stations. In an affidavit, the government also told the court that 79 mobile teams are active in the city. It said that testing facilities have been set up all over Delhi and DMRC is displaying their details to enable commuters to access testing sites closest to their point of exit and entry.

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