Rapid testing for Covid-19 in Delhi ordered, 25 prisoner vans will be mobile labs

Rapid testing for Covid-19 in Delhi ordered, 25 prisoner vans will be mobile labs

The Delhi government on Monday ordered the use of 25 prisoner vans of Delhi Police to travel into the city’s 79 containment zones to carry out large-scale random testing. A government source told Hindustan Times that the decision to quickly modify 25 such vans had been taken.

The government targets close to 40,000 rapid tests in these containment zones over the next 3-4 days.

Two vans will be assigned to each of Delhi’s 11 districts; the other three will be kept on standby at the headquarters.

The decision was taken a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed concern that 186 people who had been infected by Sars-Cov-2 on Saturday were asymptomatic. This has reinforced suspicions that “silent spreaders” were unknowingly infecting others, and underlined the need for extensive testing to isolate such patients.

The Delhi government has not eased any restrictions clamped under the national lockdown because the city-state is seen as a “high-risk zone”. All 11 revenue districts in the state are now designated as virus hot spots. The government will review this situation on April 27.

A top government official said the large number of positive cases had convinced the city government to go in for extensive testing. The availability of the testing kits had made this possible.

Of the asymptomatic patients who had tested positive yesterday, the official said 35 cases were reported from Tilak Nagar, 30 from Tughlakabad Extension, 5 from Nabi Karim, 3 from Sadar Bazar and 2 more from Nizamuddin.

These prisoner vans will go into the containment zones with police cover.

In case there is resistance or untoward incidents, the possibility of deploying paramilitary forces is not ruled out

There is some concern in the Delhi government that there were instances where police officers aren’t as proactive as the city administration would like them to be after the Chandni Mahal police station chief and some other personnel tested positive. The government had responded to this concern by extending Rs 1 crore ex-gratia cover to police personnel also besides asking them to take all precautions in handling people in COVID-19 hotspots.