By LE Desk

Ahmedabad, April 16: A day after raising doubts about the actual number of COVID-19 cases and the numbers given by the State government during its hearing on the suo motu petition initiated by it, the Gujarat High Court on Friday asked the State to publish actual data on RT-PCR tests and people found positive for COVID-19.

In an order on Friday, the division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia also asked the State government to release the actual figures of deaths of patients who had died of COVID-19 and those who died with co-morbid conditions, The Hindu reported.

The Court observed that transparency is needed to remove general conception from the minds of people that data shared by the government on COVID-19 tests and positive cases was not accurate.

“Accurate reporting of RT-PCR testing (considered gold standard in diagnostic testing) with correct figures of positive results be made public. The State should not feel shy of publishing the correct data of RT-PCR testing results, if such figures are not being correctly reported,” said the bench.

Emphasising on the transparency, the Court held that there was no gain for the State for not giving the real and actual data, saying “suppression and concealment of accurate data would generate more serious problems, including fear, loss of trust and panic amongst public at large”.

“Necessary arrangements should be made by issuing statement by responsible officer of the State with regard to the number of positive COVID patients, number of deaths due to COVID-19 and number of deaths due to COVID with co-morbidity so that faith and trust can be restored in the minds of public at large,” the court said.

The High Court advised the government to establish an “honest and transparent dialogue” with the public to generate trust amongst public. The bench observed that such trust would eventually “persuade the public at large to strictly abide by the standard protocol of wearing mask in this grave situation”.

On the plight of people running from one hospital to another in search of beds for their relatives, the bench asked the Rupani government to create an “online portal giving details of the availability of vacant beds and occupied beds under different categories for COVID patients for all districts.”

The court has posted the matter for further hearing on April 20. The court initiated suo motu petition based on the newspaper reports about the worsening COVID-19 situation in the State amidst surge in cases and deaths.

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