THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: To advance the testing process in Delhi for the rising tally of COVID 19 cases, the Delhi disaster management authority (DDMA) on Wednesday pronounced to open testing camps at the following avenues:
- Construction Sites
- Inter-State Bus terminal
- Railway Stations
With the directives issued by Delhi Court on Monday, 31st of August to advance the testing process in Delhi, DDMA held a meeting. The decision was reached unanimously. It was chaired by Anil Baijal, lieutenant governor, in the presence of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is vice-chairperson of the authority, Dr. VK Paul, member of Niti Aayog, AIIMS director Dr. Randeep Guleria, ICMR director-general Dr. Balram Bhargava and other ministers and top officials of the state government.
Dr. Paul advised the need to restrategize the COVID 19 management in the following ways:
- Increasing the amount of testing.
- Intensifying tracking of cases.
- Reinforcing the amount of medical infrastructure with special emphasis on the hotspots and Containment zones.
- The use of enhanced technology to improve contact tracing, quarantine, and containment and isolation planning.
While these centers will be ready in a week, Baijal also ordered the officials to work on a ‘test on-demand’ policy. It could be used by people to make an appointment at the nearest COVID testing center by calling a helpline without having to wait in a queue.
According to the government officials, a testing center is already made operational at Anand Vihar ISBT to screen migrant workers who have returned to the Capital. Currently, 3,381 people have undergone rapid antigen tests till Wednesday, of which 19 have been found COVID-19 positive. All these 19 cases happen to be from Uttar Pradesh and are under scrutiny.
In a statement issued in the late evening of Wednesday, the DDMA stated that special camps would be entrenched in large scale Construction sites, and besides the entry points to the city that is ISBTs and railway stations.
There have been concerns regarding the spike in cases lately. Delhi reported 2,509 new cases on Wednesday which is the highest since the beginning of July. One of the DDMA officials reported, “Principal secretary (health and family welfare) Vikram Dev Dutt informed DDMA about some probable reasons for the increase in positivity rate Delhi. The possible reasons included the lack of adherence to COVID-appropriate behavior; the impact of festivals in the month of August; late testing by COVID suspects; cross-infection; return of migrants and unlock measures.”
In a response to an emergency meeting held on the 26th of August, to double the testing to around 40000 a day in the next week, the Delhi government conducted 28,835 tests since the last 24 hours, the highest in Delhi a single day so far.
The DDMA’s statement said, “Ramping up testing facilities and augmenting hospital infrastructure keeping in view the changing scenario was discussed. The LG directed that home isolation cases need to be regularly reviewed and technology needs to be leveraged more effectively to ensure compliance. He directed the government to focus on rural areas separate.”
Anand Vihar Testing Center:
Though the center has allowed inter-State travel, Delhi is yet to give its decision on allowing buses to enter from other states.
The District official said, the migrant workers who are returning from their homes situated in various districts in UP step down at another bus terminal Kaushambi on the Ghaziabad side, opposite to the Anand Vihar ISBT, and then walk to Anand Vihar to take local buses in Delhi to reach their destination. He also added that the health officials roughly test one out of three persons which fundamentally has made it possible for them to detect around 10,000 people’s arrival in Delhi since August 13. The center is operational from 7 Am to 7 Pm.
According to Dr. Lalit Kant, former head of the epidemiology and communicable diseases department in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), more emphasis should be given to incorporate every returnee, he said: “The objective of the tests play a crucial role in this case. Since the government is isolating positive cases; they should ideally test all individuals. RT-PCR should be a preferred mode in this case.”
However, the problems regarding such kind of holistic testing have been highlighted by various concerned individuals and a middle way is currently being looked at by the government to procure data and do rapid testing as much as possible.