COVID-19: Now laboratories to send RT-PCR test results on WhatsApp within 24 hours

Mumbai: Now certified laboratories will have to send RT-PCR test results on WhatsApp within 24 hours. This major change comes after a Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court directed laboratories, certified to conduct RT-PCR tests, to first send the reports to COVID-19 positive patients on their WhatsApp account and then forward it to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to upload on its portal within 24 hours.

A division bench of Justices Zaka Haq and Amit Borkar, who were hearing a civil application which highlighted that there was a delay in patients getting COVID-19 positive results, said that laboratories that fail to abide by this order, would face strict action.

The bench was informed that patients face difficulties in getting RT-PCR test reports. This delay was because the laboratories were not giving the reports unless the reports are uploaded on the ICMR portal and sometimes the server is slow, which results in delay in uploading of the reports, the bench was informed.

SP Bhandarkar, amicus curiae appearing in the suo motu PIL suggested that the reports of the patients, whether positive or negative, shall be immediately sent to the patients on WhatsApp and hard copies of the reports shall also be made available to the patients immediately without holding delivery of all such reports on the ground that the reports have not been uploaded on the ICMR portal.

Having heard the contentions, the bench in its orders said, "We direct that after making the reports available to the patients on WhatsApp as also hard copy of it, the reports of the patients, who test positive shall be uploaded on the ICMR portal within 24


"The reports of the patients who test negative should be uploaded on the ICMR portal within 7 days and if these directions are not complied with by the laboratories, the authorities will be free to take appropriate action against the concerned laboratories, as deemed fit by the concerned authority," the judges added in their orders.

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