‘Am at risk’: Toddler moves Delhi HC against asymptomatic testing ban

A two-year-old boy has approached the Delhi High Court against the city government’s decision restraining asymptomatic patients from getting tested for Covid-19, claiming that he is at a considerable risk as he has working members in the family.

“The petitioner is a minor boy (2 years old) who resides with a joint family comprising of working members who would be resuming work/regular office pursuant to the ‘Unlockdown’ as announced by the Delhi government. Like several other similar minors and other residents of Delhi, the petitioner is at considerable risk of contacting Covid-19 through these members due to restriction on movements being lifted,” the plea filed by the boy, through his father, said.

In the plea filed through advocate Arjun Syal and Vidisha Gupta, the petitioner said: “Moreover, the situation has been further aggravated due to discontinuation of testing of asymptomatic cases, shortage of requisite healthcare infrastructure such as hospital beds and ventilators etc.”

The matter is listed for hearing on Wednesday before a division bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.

The petition also claimed that disallowing testing of asymptomatic cases is complete deviation of the testing criteria/guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research from time to time.

“The impugned action of impairing the aforesaid testing vis-a-vis asymptomatic Covid 19 patients is arbitrary, mechanical and moreover passed mechanically without application of mind and or ascertaining to the cascading effect on already worsening spread of pandemic in the state,” the plea said.

It said that the decision of the government to lift the restriction on movement on one hand and on the other hand to discontinue the testing of asymptomatic patient is “mutually contradictory”.

The petitioner claimed that the asymptomatic patients are highly infectious and can extensively contaminate the environment in a very short time and moreover, are essentially the carriers of the disease.

“While a symptomatic patient can be quarantined and be provided appropriate medical healthcare, it the asymptomatic category that are likely to unknowingly spread the same to minors, senior citizens and other high risk category individuals, thereby seriously impairing their health and putting them in serious life risking situations,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner submitted that testing of asymptomatic patients would help in identifying the suspected Covid-19 positive patients and further help in taking preventive measures with the assistance of the relevant authorities to help combat the same and thus prevent the further spread of Covid-19 in Delhi.