With an increase in the number of samples being collected for COVID-19 testing in the national capital, the pendency of tests has also spiked up to more than double, according to official figures.
The national capital conducted 5,824 coronavirus tests on June 15, 6,510 on June 16, 8,452 on June 17 and 12,389 on June 18, according to official figures.
On June 15, 6,105 samples were collected, while 7,786 samples were collected the next day. A total of 8,093 samples were collected on June 17 while 15,766 samples were collected on June 18.
By June 18, the number of samples pending at various laboratories across Delhi reached 7,439. The number was 3,478 on June 15, 5,116 on June 16 and 6,892 on June 17.
An official, requesting anonymity, said, "The government had directed the laboratories to process the samples within a maximum of 48 hours. The pendency is not beyond the stipulated level."
With a surge in COVID-19 cases, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had on June 14 announced that the number of coronavirus tests would be doubled in Delhi in the next two days and subsequently, increased by three times.
Following Shah's announcement, the Delhi government had directed all the laboratories and hospitals to work on their full potential and ramp up the COVID-19 testing capacity to meet the increased demand of processing samples.
Health Secretary Padmini Singla had also called for processing the samples within a maximum of 48 hours.
"It has been decided to scale up lab testing immediately to effectively contain COVID-19 cases in Delhi. There is no upper limit to send samples to private sector labs, provided they undertake to process the same within the stipulated time frame, that is 24 hours (preferably) and maximum within 48 hours," an order issued by Singla had said.
It had also directed the public and private sector laboratories "to work on their full potential and also further ramp up their testing capacity on priority to meet the increased demand of processing".
On June 18, Delhi also commenced COVID-19 testing through the rapid antigen methodology in and around the containment zones in the city. The rapid-antigen test makes results available within 30 minutes. According to the ICMR website, the COVID-19 test is being conducted in 44 laboratories in the city, including 19 government facilities.