How Delhi is ramping up its Covid-19 testing
Delhi on Tuesday conducted 28,835 Covid-19 tests, the highest so far. The testing has been ramped up following a rise in Covid-19 cases since mid-August after Delhi became the first major region to register a sustained fall in the infections. The spike in cases prompted chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to hold an emergency meeting on August 26, where it was decided that the rate of testing will be doubled from 18,000-20,000 daily to nearly 40,000 weekly.
Accordingly, daily testing was increased from Monday when 24,198 tests were conducted. Here is a look at how the testing is being ramped up:
1. 40,000 testing daily would be done in a “gradual manner” and is likely to be achieved in a week. “It is a multi-pronged approach under which testing is being increased at various levels,” the chief minister’s office said.
2. To ramp up testing, the timings of all state-run dispensaries and seed PUHCs (Primary Urban Health Centres) have now been extended by two hours. “The Delhi government has 265 dispensaries and clinics in addition to major hospitals where Covid-19 testing is available for free. This is where we expect the testing numbers to go up mainly. All Delhi government dispensaries and seed PUHCs are now testing patients between 9 am and 2 pm – for five hours instead of three hours,” a government spokesperson said.
3. On Wednesday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority decided to set up testing camps at all inter-state bus terminals (ISBTs), railway stations and also at major construction sites within a week. The idea is to test migrant workers returning to Delhi in search of jobs.
A testing centre is already functioning at the Anand Vihar ISBT since August 13 to screen migrants back in the Capital, where 3,381 people had undergone rapid antigen tests till Wednesday, of which only 19 were diagnosed Covid-19.
4. Lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday directed officials to simultaneously draft a policy to introduce a ‘test-on-demand’ programme, wherein people could call a helpline and fix an appointment at the nearest Covid-19 testing centre without having to wait.
5. Health minister Satyendar Jain has asked his department to also explore ways through which some select mohalla clinics may be shut for general medical diagnosis and converted into temporary Covid-19 testing centres. Delhi has over 450 operational mohalla clinics as of now.