Coronavirus: Delhi government offers rapid antigen tests at all healthcare facilities

By: |
July 10, 2020 2:07 PM

With 107,051 coronavirus cases, Delhi has reported the third-highest COVID-19 infections in the country.

Rapid antigen tests to detect Covid-19Though the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Delhi, the recovery rate has gone up in the past few weeks. (Photo: The Indian Express)

The Delhi government has started offering rapid antigen tests at all healthcare institutions, including at more than 200 government-owned dispensaries and 25 polyclinics, as the Aam Aadmi Party-led government ramped up testing in the national capital. The move is part of the government’s new technique of ‘test-track-test’ in order to ensure timely detection of Covid-19 cases and further limit the spread of the coronavirus.

As of July 10, Delhi has reported 107,051 coronavirus infection. While 82,226 patients have recovered/discharged, the city has seen 3,528 fatalities linked to COVID-19. In the last 24 hours, Delhi has reported 2,187 new cases and 45 deaths due to coronavirus. The city has still 21,297 active cases.

Though the number of cases continues to rise, the recovery rate in the city has gone up in the past few weeks, especially after the Union home ministry led by home minister Amit Shah and the Delhi government work together in tandem to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in the city. Since then the city has seen rise a massive improvement in healthcare infrastructure. The administration started initiatives like serious door-to door-screening and remapping of the containment zone for a more focused approach; it also ramped up testing.

Separate attention will be on high-risk groups, which includes rickshaw pullers, labourers, vendors, and mason workers, officials said. In the Central district, the government will run a campaign to test rickshaw, auto, taxi, goods carriage, and lorry drivers, while in the Southeast district a rapid antigen test camp will be set up in Kotla Mubakakpur to conduct tests on dailywage labourers and mason workers. Vendors and labourers from Azadpur and Ghazipur mandis will carry out their tests in the East district.

Delhi has been reporting nearly 2,500 cases per day for the past few days. “Aggressive contact tracing and testing hold the key to ensure that infection is controlled in its tracks effectively,” The Indian Express quoted DGHS Director Dr. Nutan Mundeja as saying in an order.

He said “we consistently need to test at least 20,000 people each day” in order to effectively tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. “Since contacts can be in any part of the city, depending on the movement of the patient, the testing facility will be made available in the identified dispensaries and polyclinics,” Mundeja quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the nodal body for testing guidelines in India, has recently approved the use of point-of-care rapid antigen tests for early detection of COVID-19. The administration is already conducting these tests in containment zones and hospitals. However, RT-PCR is considered to be the best for diagnosis of COVID-19

According to the directive from the health department, dispensaries can conduct tests of all individuals with influenza-like illness (ILI) and of asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts. The tests will be available from 9 am to 12 pm for eligible individuals on all working days. Those tested negative will be tested again through the RT-PCR test. Patients with ILI-like symptoms, severe acute respiratory illness are to be tested by rapid antigen testing in both public and private healthcare facilities.

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