Mandis and localities inhabited by migrant workers get antigen testing centres
Rapid testing was also started in Delhi’s two biggest wholesale markets – the Azadpur mandi and the Ghazipur mandi -- in order to screen vegetable and fruit vendors, transporters and dealers.Updated: Jul 11, 2020 01:13 IST
District authorities Friday further scaled up testing for Covid-19 across Delhi and set up rapid antigen testing centres at major markets, public spaces and localities largely inhabited by migrant workers.
Rapid testing was also started in Delhi’s two biggest wholesale markets – the Azadpur mandi and the Ghazipur mandi -- in order to screen vegetable and fruit vendors, transporters and dealers.
Friday’s expansion of the rapid testing also covered drivers of public and para-transit modes such as auto-rickshaws and taxis for whom special testing centres have been set up in Anna Nagar in IP Estate and Sanjay Amar Colony in Shahdara.
The move comes after the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) on July 9 laid down a fresh plan to augment rapid antigen tests in the city. Before that, on July 8, the DGHS had also revised the plan to identify those who are to be tested.
HT had reported about this modified approach to testing on July 5. Districts have to identify and test high-risk individuals living in areas having isolated Covid-19 cases for over 28 days, apart from those in containment and buffer zones.
It has also asked authorities to start aggressive testing among ‘special surveillance groups (SSG)’ comprising drivers of rickshaw/auto, taxi, goods carriage and lorries; domestic helps; daily workers (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc); daily suppliers of food; and other delivery persons.
Following these orders, on Friday, each of the 11 districts in Delhi began expanding their coverage of rapid tests. Rahul Singh, district magistrate (southwest) said mobile testing vans have been deployed in areas where stationary testing centres couldn’t be set up due to space constraints.
“Earlier, we had 44 antigen testing centres, the most in any of the 11 districts (north district had the second highest at 26). This has been scaled up further what with all dispensaries also starting antigen testing. On Friday, we launched the SSG testing camps at the furniture market in Najafgarh and at the sabzi mandi (vegetable market) in Naseerpur,” he said.
To screen high-risk persons in areas having isolated cases and also in areas largely inhabited by migrant workers and labourers, Singh said the district opened another centre at Bhagat Singh park in Valmiki mohalla in Chhawla area.
Nidhi Srivastava, DM (Central), who has been tasked with running a campaign to test taxi, auto and goods carriage drivers, said she began the drive from Anna Nagar in IP district and Sanjay Amar Colony in Shahdara district.
“Friday’s response, despite it being the first day, was very positive. Scores of auto and taxi drivers voluntarily came to get themselves tested. In the coming days, we will expand this to cover more areas across the city,” said Srivastava.
To identify and screen all people falling in the SSG category, DM (north) Deepak Shinde said all districts are conducting a survey with the help of municipal corporations.
“I held a meeting in this regard on Friday. Municipal officials and our district officials will together undertake a survey to identify such people. Apart from that, today (Friday) we have also started a testing centre at the Azadpur market,” Shinde said.
For screening in areas from where isolated cases are being reported, all DMs said they are following the daily cluster reports to take necessary action. All districts are also following the detailed data being provided on maps by the GSDL (Geospatial Delhi Limited), the agency specialising in geo-spatial data, an official from the chief minister’s office said on condition of anonymity.
DM (east) AK Mishra said 22 dispensaries in his district have been equipped with antigen testing facilities. “So each dispensary has been given a catchment area so that they are aware of the localities whose residents they are to test. Besides, the dispensary next to Ghazipur mandi has also been attached to the wholesale market so that traders are also tested,” he said.