Delhi Covid-19 cases in a spiral, Noida starts random testing of capital commuters
In order to assess and prevent cross-border infection from Delhi, the Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration has decided that it will randomly test commuters entering Noida by road or through the metro stations with the help of rapid antigen kits. The officials said that the teams of the health department will be deployed randomly at any of the five major road entry/exit points from Delhi or at the eleven metro stations in Noida, connected with Delhi, for testing.
The officials said that the initiative starting Wednesday is part of a strategy to deal with the possibility of rising Covid-19 cases in neighbouring Delhi leading to a spike in cases in Noida since a large number of daily commuters travel between Noida and Delhi.
“Our health department is chalking out teams, about 2 or 3, which will be randomly deployed either at road borders with Delhi or outside the metro stations. The teams will randomly select commuters coming in from Delhi and take their samples with the help of rapid antigen kits. The traffic between Delhi and Noida would continue to be normal and it is reiterated that only a few randomly selected commuters shall be tested and not all commuters,” said Suhas LY, district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar.
“The exercise will start Wednesday. Since, it will be the first day, we have not assessed how many of the commuters will be tested. This assessment will be done a day later. This is being done in order to assess spread of infection and would help in issuing advisories to employers and organisations, where a large number of people work and commute between Gautam Buddh Nagar and adjacent areas, so that spread of infection is contained to a large extent,” Suhas, added.
The five major entry/exit points that Noida shares with Delhi are the DND flyway, Noida-Mayur Vihar border, New Ashok Nagar border, Kalindi Kunj and another border near Kondli. The city has nine metro stations on the Blue Line of the Delhi Metro network and two stations on the Magenta Line connecting Delhi.
“Before lockdown each of the three roads (connecting Delhi and Noida) catered to over one lakh vehicular traffic respectively. After the lockdown, the number of vehicles has decreased on the roads since schools, colleges and several offices are closed. We feel that around 70,000 vehicles use DND Flyway and about 60,000 vehicles use Kalindi Kunj every day. Similar numbers of vehicles run on the Mayur Vihar link road as well,” said Ashutosh Singh, Noida’s traffic inspector.
These roads are presently toll free hence the police don’t have exact figures, said officials.
Ganesh Saha, DCP traffic, Gautam Budh Nagar, said that he has not received the district magistrate’s order on random sampling of commuters visiting Noida from Delhi for Covid-19 test.
“We will coordinate with the district administration as part of the program,” Saha said.
According to the state control room records, the district till November 17 registered a total of 20,566 Covid-19 cases, which includes 1,236 active cases besides 73 deaths. During the first 17 days in November, the district has reported 2,727 fresh cases of coronavirus.