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Meghalaya HC for more COVID-19 testing facilities in private hospitals

By Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, Aug 26 - The Meghalaya High Court has stressed the need to have more private hospitals in the State capital with the facility to conduct RT-PCR tests.

Hearing an ongoing PIL on the pandemic, the Court said that HG Robert, Bethany and Woodland hospitals are conducting antigen tests, and that Nazareth Hospital has started the CBNAAT (RT-PCR-based) testing facility. These are the private hospitals in the State capital which are assisting the State Government in conducting COVID-19 tests. However, only Nazareth Hospital has the facility to conduct RT-PCR tests.

�The efficacy of the rapid antigen test is not 100 percent accurate� keeping the imminent possibility of the occurrence of a community spread of the disease in mind especially in Shillong city, it would therefore be expedient, if along the lines of Nazareth Hospital, that other private health institutions also are equipped with this facility,� the Court said.

The Court observed that the gold standard test affirmed by the experts, is the RT-PCR test which correctly indicates infection, if any.

On setting up a plasma bank in the State, it was noted that the NEIGRIHMS has already procured an �Aphaeresis� machine required for separation of blood components to start the plasma bank. But the Institute is awaiting installation of the machine and the licence to operate the plasma bank, the Court was informed.

The State Advocate General (AG) has also submitted before the Court that an expert committee chaired by the Director of Health Services has been constituted to examine the death of a baby at Ganesh Das Hospital recently.

The report of the committee has not been received and it will be presented before the Court once it is submitted, the AG informed.

On the Border Security Force having separate protocols for its personnel and their families returning to the State, the Court said that like the Assam Rifles, it is expected that the BSF �immediately correct the procedure and ensure uniformity�.

The Court also said that the issue of testing all personnel at the entry point is discussed with the authorities concerned by the State Government, and that a decision on it is arrived at the earliest.

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