Close on the heels of ramping up testing and hospital beds in the national capital, the government has now decided to put a cap on cost of COVID-19 testing. The VK Paul Committee on Wednesday recommended that Rs 2,400 be charged for coronavirus testing in Delhi.
"As per the directives of Home Minister Amit Shah in providing relief to the common man, the high-level expert committee's report on COVID-19 testing rates received by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been further sent to Delhi government for necessary action," said a tweet by a spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). "It has been decided to fix the test rate at Rs 2,400."
Capping of private hospital treatment and testing cost was one of the demands raised by the BJP during the all-party meeting.
The testing protocol will also undergo a change in Delhi in order to stop the rising numbers of coronavirus cases. The MHA said that from June 18, the rapid antigen methodology will be followed to test those who show virus symptoms or have come in contact with such a patient.
ICMR chief Professor Balram Bhargav, in a letter to the Union Health Secretary on June 14, had underscored the urgency to increase testing in order to stop rising numbers of virus cases.
"It is critical to immediately augment COVID-19 testing capacity in containment zones of Delhi to prevent the spread of infection. As per decisions taken, Delhi may deploy this test immediately in the containment zones," the letter said.
The MHA spokesperson said after Shah's intervention, Delhi would be given priority for these rapid antigen test kits and 169 centres enters have been set up across the national capital for the purpose.
To improve contact mapping in Delhi's containment zones, health surveys have been started on the directions of the Home Minister. Out of the total population of 2,30,466 in 242 containment zones, a survey of 1,77,692 people was conducted between June 15-16 and the remaining will be covered by June 20, added the official.
The spokesperson said Delhi has already implemented the decision of ramping up testing.
"16,618 test samples collected on June 15-16 (till June 14 the daily collection varied between 4,000 and 4,500). Reports of 6,510 tests received so far, remaining to be received by June 18," added the spokesperson in another tweet.
Shah chaired another review meeting on Delhi's COVID-19 preparedness on Tuesday and briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.