The Karnataka government recently announced that laboratory tests at COVID-19 should not directly reveal test results to a patient. Instead, laboratories were asked to submit the results to public authorities who would then notify patients.
The move has angered experts who are unsure of the logic. If cases flare up in the state, warning patients will not only violate basic rights, but can also lead to the spread of the infection in a time they were not informed about, doctors and health activists said.
The order receives huge differences
Karnataka continuously records the largest number of coronavirus cases every day, amid confusion and uncertainty, the state government issues new orders with changes to the control strategy. However, the latest order to hospitals and laboratories against disclosing test results to COVID patients directly provoked outrage.
From now on, the laboratory will have to post the results of the COVID test on the official portal of the district administration and local authorities, BBMP and ICMR. In case of negative test results, laboratories can report them directly to the patient.
The local authority entrusted will then pass the result on to the patients and take them to the hospital. The order was signed by the director of the Department of Health and Welfare of the Omprakash Patil family. However, according to media reports, this was the vision of Revenue Minister R Ashoka.
The move has led to several difficult questions from medical experts and activists. The expert told DH, “This notice doesn’t make sense. If you don’t inform positive people about COVID-19 that they are really positive about COVID, they will unknowingly spend the next few hours contagiously infecting maybe as many as 20 additional people.”
Moreover, ethical patients have a right to know their results. This concerns medical professionals and doctors. Doctors are also worried about how patients will feel and the delay in listening to the authorities will cause anxiety. However, according to the Bangalore Mirror, the BBMP said that the order is guaranteed when patients without test results request admission to hospitals. But doctors are concerned that not publishing the results could prevent them from behaving accordingly. It remains to be seen how the authorities will implement the order and whether it will only set the state fight against the back of COVID-19.