BMC makes it mandatory for buyers of Covid-19 self-testing kits to share reports with BMC & ICMR
MUMBAI To ensure that citizens using Covid-19 self-testing kits maintain transparency about their test results, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday made it compulsory for every resident to share their test results with the civic body and upload the same on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) website, irrespective of whether the result is positive or negative.
At present, seven self-test kits have been approved by the ICMR, including Coviself by Mylab, Covifind by Meril Diagnostics, and Panbio by Abott amongst others. The BMC said that regularly, 300,000 to 350,000 tests are being taken by citizens in Mumbai and a majority of these tests are going unreported.
On Friday, the BMC said that the local BMC ward war room will verify the test results of each and every buyer of self-testing kits by contacting them. The BMC also said that if necessary, staff from the health department will visit the residence of the buyer and scrutinise the situation physically.
“At the back of every self-testing kit, there is a QR code which directs the user to the ICMR website where they need to upload the test results along with their credentials. Most of the users were not doing it up until now which is why we have brought these new guidelines to check that these cases don’t stay unreported anymore,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of public health in the BMC.
Earlier on Thursday night, the BMC issued detailed guidelines for manufacturers, distributors and sellers of self-testing kits. The BMC set up two new email identities, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, with each identity to be monitored by the BMC Epidemic Cell and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in Mumbai. The BMC instructed buyers, sellers and distributors of these kits to maintain a record of buyers of these kits and share it regularly with the authorities through specified emails. The BMC also said that each seller should issue bills to the customer and in return, take down details such as telephone numbers and addresses from them which will be shared with the authorities mandatorily by 6 pm regularly. Following which, these details will be passed on to the local ward war room which will then verify the details. Kakani said that the BMC has also asked chemists to share their email identities with buyers so that they too can share the test results with authorities. “After the war room receives the details, they will check and verify if the reports have been uploaded on the ICMR website or if they have received any email from them. If not, they will contact buyers of these kits and seek their reports. If they are found to have tested positive, the war room will monitor their condition,” said Kakani. “In case we sense that any person is hiding reports, officials from the local ward office may visit their place to verify the status of their health physically,” Kakani added. He said that in the last 24 hours, 107,000 test reports from Maharashtra have been uploaded on the ICMR website out of which around 3,500 samples have tested positive. He said that the BMC predicts that at least 10% of the daily testing figures include figures of self-testing kits.
“The guidelines will come into effect from today (January 14) and in the next one week, we are hopeful that these figures may also be recorded in the daily Covid-19 tally. These numbers will give us more clarity in understanding the present ongoing trend,” Kakani said.
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