HC Tells Government to Come Clear on Helpline for Covid Hospitals
Bengaluru, India, July 15 2020 -- The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to clarify as to why only one helpline number - 1912 - of Bescom was available for queries about hospitals.
Hearing a batch of petitions on issues related to Covid-19, a division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka directed the state government to respond on certain grey areas in the written submission. The written submission stated that a circular has been issued informing about the helpline number 1912 exclusively for issues regarding the hospitals.
The advocate appearing for the petitioner said that number used to be a Bescom complaint number. Going through the written submission, the bench sought to know the mechanism of handling this sole number.
"Basically, this telephone number 1912 is provided by Bescom for receiving complaints on disruption of electricity supply. It is said that in the monsoon sometimes more than 20,000 complaints are received by Bescom on this number. Therefore, the state must clarify how many lines are available to receive queries on securing beds in hospital. Proper working of this helpline is crucial as this is the only way to find out the availability of beds. The purpose of providing the helpline cannot be achieved unless a proper mechanism is in place. Government needs to clarify on this aspect," the bench said.
The state government submitted that on July 10, a circular was issued regarding the testing modalities. The high court had asked the state to provide the outer limit for testing of the samples.
The submission stated that testing was done under three categories, A, B and C. The outer limit for test results is prescribed as 12 hours for A category, 24 hours for B category and 24-48 hours for C category. "In order to reduce the turn-around time for reporting of tests, the July 10, 2020 guidelines state that symptomatic patients and primary contacts coming under category A shall be done through individual testing, while asymptomatic and other persons under category B will be done through pooled sample testing (5 samples only),’’ the state submitted.
The state government further stated that all hospitals, labs, medical establishments performing rapid antigen tests have been directed to mandatorily register with ICMR and also enter test results on the ICMR portal. The state has also issued a circular on July 13 about quarantine of persons who have provided a sample for the testing. It said such persons are directed to maintain strict quarantine as they are potential carriers of the virus.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Date Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2020
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