Tests for Covid-19 have not stopped, Arvind Kejriwal says amid criticism

The AAP leader also claimed that Delhi is conducting the highest numbers of Covid-19 tests and the government’s biggest priority is to save lives. Even though the testing capacity is ramped up, it will be limited, he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks at a press conference over Covid-19 situation, in New Delhi.(ANI)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks at a press conference over Covid-19 situation, in New Delhi.(ANI)
Updated on Jun 06, 2020 02:02 PM IST
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New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Meenakshi Ray

Testing of samples for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has not been stopped, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday after a number of complaints from people who say they have symptoms but have not been able to find out if they are infected.

Arvind Kejriwal said if there are last-minute teething problem, they will be sorted out.

“As of today, 5,300 samples have been tested. Tests have not stopped. There are 42 labs, including government as well as private facilities, in Delhi which test samples,” Arvind Kejriwal said.

“There were six laboratories which were not working properly. Shouldn’t we take action against them? We took action against them,” he added.

But 36 labs are still working, he pointed out. “We just took action against six of them. Why are they being protected?” he asked.

“If people have to get tested they can go to any government or private hospitals’ flu clinics. They can go to the 17 testing centres of the Delhi government. They can also go to the private labs,” he said.

The AAP leader also claimed that Delhi is conducting the highest numbers of Covid-19 tests and the government’s biggest priority is to save lives. Even though the testing capacity is ramped up, it will be limited, he added.

“If all asymptotic people turn up to get tested, the system will collapse. People are scared and this fear has to be rooted out. They want to get tested because of this fear,” he said.

He urged all those who are asymptotic not to insist on being tested for Covid-19.

“If asymptotic people will insist on getting tested, testing for those in a critical condition will stop,” he argued and requested them not to go to labs.

At least eight testing centres were banned by the Delhi government on Thursday and the administration issued notices asking them to explain why their documents were not in order and the reason for now following guidelines on who can be tested.

The move is expected to have shaved off at least 4,000 daily tests from the capital’s capacity.

These labs have been asked not to pick up individual samples but samples sent by various hospitals and other agencies will continue being processed in these labs, the statement added.

A doctor at Sir Ganga Ram hospital, who asked not to be named, said the lack of testing could be causing people with no or mild symptoms not being identified for Covid-19.

“Asymptomatic carriers are a huge number that runs the risk of infecting others. You need to open up testing criteria because these people otherwise will keep spreading the infection without knowing,” the doctor cited above said.

“Then there are people going for surgeries, or dialysis or chemo patients, who may be carriers and run the risk of infecting health care workers. Why is it difficult to understand that we need to expand not just testing labs but also testing criteria, and not restrict it,” the doctors said.

The testing criteria was made stricter earlier in the week when the city administration said only symptomatic close contacts will be tested for the disease, replacing a previous rule that allowed for asymptomatic close contacts of a confirmed patient to be eligible for a test.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022