The Bombay High Court Bench at Nagpur while conducting a hearing through video conferencing has asked the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to consider rapid antibody tests for COVID-19. The bench consisting of Justice AS Chandurkar, heard the PIL tagged with a writ seeking directions to combat Coronavirus. An intervention application pressing the importance of rapid antibody tests for COVID-19 was also heard. The court had given directions to the Collector and Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Nagpur. They were to consider whether the wearing of mask in public should be made mandatory. The Division bench issued similar directions two weeks earlier. These bodies issued affidavits for compliance with the directions.
The Additional Solicitor General UA Aurangabadkar opposed the intervention application filed by Dr. Maraar for rapid antibody tests. He has sought some time to file the reply for the same. The court has given time to ICMR to take the expeditious decision on the grant of approval to the Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory facilities for testing of COVID-19 at Akola, Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Govt. Medical College, Nagpur. The court also directed the Respondents to abide by previous directions in their true spirit.
Amicus Curiae Anup Gilda responded to the advisory issued by ICMR which relates to antibody tests for COVID-19. He emphasised on the supply of Prevention and Protective Equipment kit. Gilda said that the doctors, nursing staff and sanitation workers must be supplied with PPE kits since they work where infected patients are treated. He advised that the antibody-based test should be conducted as its result are available within 30 minutes. The same will facilitate fast action. Whereas, Petitioner’s Counsel Ram Heda suggested that the wearing of masks should be made mandatory in public places.