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By Saradha | Jun 29, 2020 12:44 PM

The Karnataka government on Saturday passed a notification to COVID19 testing labs which instructed them not to inform patients immediately once they test positive for the novel coronavirus. They said that the labs will have to first send the information to the respective district administration or local bodied who would then inform the police. 

Karnataka government prohibits COVID19 labs from informing patients

The decision has sparked huge outrage among medical professionals and activists since the lives of many more people will be put in risk. 

Dr CN Manjnath, state nodal officer for COVID-19 testing, said there is a need for the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) to ramp up operations and tackle the crisis better.  He said, “At this point there are some constraints, they are trying to digitally streamline the process further and reduce the inconvenience. We cannot let patients wait without a follow up. So, the government has told us that we have to hire more ambulances and other infrastructure.”  

Tara Krishnaswamy, a Bengaluru-based activist tweeted, “Not informing positives immediately due to data logjam could cost lives and exacerbate spread. Please rectify the order immediately; your obligation is to people, not data.”

A public health professional aware of the COVID-19 situation in the state (who did not reveal his identity) criticised the move. While speaking to The News Minute he said, “Particularly, we should be careful that infected people do not wander around spreading the infection. Hence, during this 4-5 hours, they should be in strict quarantine. This order only helps administrators for arranging logistics and isolation facilities.”

However, a BBMP officer involved in COVID-19 surveillance work for the disease defended the decision and told TNM that “The decision was made to streamline the entire exercise. Labs often have too much data to feed to the portal through which we get information and often the lag is 4-5 hours. In this mean time, often patients panic and call us or elected representatives. But once we have aggregate data of patients, we can work much more efficiently in a systematic manner.”

The notification dated Saturday (June 27) was signed by Om Prakash Patil, Director of Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Services. It has asked both government and private labs not to inform the patients directly.

The notification mentions, “Maintaining the confidentiality of the result status is also crucial. Therefore, exercising power under Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 (Central Act 3 of 1897) & also in view of public interest, the following notification is made.”

“1. The COVID Positive result status should not be conveyed to the individual by the authorities of the Govt Private Laboratories by any means.

2. All Govt, Private Laboratories should upload the details of COVID positive & negative cases in the ICMR Portal daily.

3.  The details of the Positive results should be submitted to the concerned District Surveillance Officers, COVID Surveillance officer, BBMP, Bengaluru & State Surveillance Unit, Bengaluru,” the notification stated.

அரசியல், விளையாட்டு, நாட்டுநடப்பு, குற்ற சம்பவங்கள், வர்த்தகம், தொழில்நுட்பம், சினிமா, வாழ்க்கை முறை என பலதரப்பட்ட சுவாரஸ்யமான செய்திகளை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கு கிளிக் செய்யவும்      



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