While Gujarat counts itself among the highest in the country in experiencing deaths due to the pandemic, the number of tests remains among the lowest. In a bid to control the COVID-19 data, the Gujarat government on May 10th had also declared that it would be mandatory for all private hospitals to get approval from the government before testing patients for the coronavirus, who are admitted for other sicknesses.
Further, the government also claimed that, just for a feeling of safety and security, coronavirus tests should not be conducted for patients who do not have any symptoms of the viral disease. In synchronization with ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) guidelines, Kamal Trivedi, State Advocate General, added: “Covid-19 testing should not be done for asymptomatic individuals, asymptomatic contacts of a positive patient or asymptomatic family of those in quarantine”.
As a result of the above declaration, the number of patients who needed tests gradually came down. Before 10th May, the approval for the tests took not even a day, which drastically changed after the above-mentioned date. It took a long time in getting the approvals, sometimes more than 3 to 4 days or sometimes there were also situations where the approvals did not come at all, and due to this not only the numbers came down, but also it resulted in risking the lives of critical patients who require immediate treatment.
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On 23rd May, keeping this issue in concern the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association warned the State Principal Secretary (Health) saying, “We will be forced to stop all COVID admissions at COVID hospitals and divert all of them to the Government hospitals if this is not taken seriously”.
However, the Gujarat High court on 29th May, nullified the above decision of the government and announced that there is no need to take government approval for carrying out coronavirus tests if the doctors recommend it, which somewhat provided a relief to the private hospitals as well as the patients.
But as we all know, the government does not fail to displease people, it outwitted the orders of the High court. The State Health Department on June 2nd issued a new directive that said that the entire person who is undergoing coronavirus tests must be hospitalized. As a result, the non-COVID patients have started avoiding going to the hospitals out of fear as the doctors treating the COVID patients were increasing in the general wards too.