Delhi HC seeks govt’s stand on safe disposal of swabs used for Covid tests
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the counsel for the Delhi government to take instructions on a plea seeking directions to follow stringent measures for the safe disposal of swabs used for Rapid Antigen Testing of Covid-19.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, after going through the petition and submissions, asked the counsel of the Delhi government to take the instructions and apprise the court about the same and listed the matter for December 3.
The public interest litigation, filed by advocate Pankaj Mehta, sought directions to form specific guidelines on the waste disposal in the testing of the novel coronavirus, and to carry out safety audits at Covid-19 testing centers across the national capital.
The PIL alleged that the used swabs were being thrown out in public and tests were being carried out over a pile of used swabs for Covid-19 testing at the office of the District Magistrate, South East Delhi in Lajpat Nagar.
“Upon complaining about the risk of widespread infection and the irregularity behind the disposal of the swabs in this manner, the concerned doctor at the counter said the swabs are of negative patients and thus it is safe to stand over them and get tested,” the plea said.
The plea mentioned that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has via a Clinical Management Protocol Notification dated July 3, 2020, laid emphasis on safe waste management and cleaning of the environment across all the areas of healthcare facilities.
However, the enforcement of the same has been completely ignored by the respondents as evident by the actions of the medical staff at the office of the District Magistrate, southeast Delhi in Lajpat Nagar, and by medical staff across the country, the plea said.
Such negligence on the parts of the respondents amounts to the violation of the fundamental right to life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and as such, demands the intervention of the court, it added.
The plea said the Supreme Court, in a catena of judgments in recent months, had held that appropriate measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 should be put in place.
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