Nagpur: Senior government officials in Nagpur on Friday informed the Bombay High Court that COVID-19 tests on police and medical staff deployed in two containment zones in the city shall be conducted only if the number of coronavirus positive cases in each of these areas is above 15.
The submission was made by the Nagpur district collector and the city’s police commissioner. The COVID-19 containment zones they were referring to are Satranjipura and Mominpura.
The Nagpur bench of the HC had earlier this week directed the two senior officials to consider conducting COVID-19 tests on all medical and police personnel discharging duty in these two areas as a pilot project.
The Nagpur district collector and police commissioner on Friday submitted their report to a division bench of Justices Ravi Deshpande and Amit Borkar in which they said a joint meeting was convened along with senior medical officials to consider the suggestion made by the court.
COVID-19 tests of medical and police personnel working or discharging duty in the two containment zones of Mominpura and Satranjipura are proposed to be conducted if there are more than 15 positive cases (in each of them), the report said.
As per the report, a total of 798 police personnel have been deployed in Satranjipura and Mominpura areas of Nagpur. Besides, 296 medical doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are rendering their services to persons from these areas.
Out of the 295 medical staff workers, 42 have been already tested for COVID-19 and their results turned out to be negative for the infection, the report said.
The report further said that a new policy issued on May 18 by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) says that only symptomatic healthcare workers and frontline workers involved in containment zones and mitigation of COVID-19 shall be tested.
Therefore, the question of whether asymptomatic frontline workers are to be tested or not is now a matter of concern, the report said.
The court, after perusing the report, directed government pleader S Y Deopujari to put it in the form of an affidavit and posted the matter for further hearing on May 26.
The court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO, Citizen Forum For Equality, seeking that tests to be conducted on frontline workers engaged in the war against COVID-19 pandemic.
The frontline warriors include include doctors, nurses, para-medical staff, pharmacists and police personnel.
The petitioners lawyer, Tushar Mandlekar, had argued that these professionals should be considered as “high-risk” contacts as they are discharging duties in containment zones, hospitals and quarantine institutions, and hence they should be tested for the infection.