COVID-19 cases in India continue to rise, and many citizens are unable to book basic facilities due to mounting pressure on healthcare services. According to the latest government figures, the country witnessed 2,73,810 new coronavirus cases and 1,619 deaths in the last 24 hours (April 18), with many states imposing partial lockdowns to curb its spread. Similarly, there appears to be a slew of misinformation regarding the virus, and people are naturally running to get a COVID-19 test to get checked and assure their safety. Unfortunately, it is adding more pressure on several existing centres that are now overburdened and unavailable at the receiving end. Citizens across the country can use apps such as Google Maps to find COVID-19 testing or vaccine centres around them. The Maps app also includes additional information such as phone numbers and operational timings.
To check the availability of testing centres around you, open Google Maps and simply search for “covid test near me." Users can also use keywords such as “COVID 19 test" or “covid testing" to get results. Both iOS and Android users can view the information directly on the map (represented by landmark icons) or via a listicle. Users can find information on referral, private or government, contact, and operational timing. To check whether the lab offers home testing, users would need to check with the centre directly via a phone call. The COVID-19 test centre-search feature was added in June 2020.
Similarly, Google Maps recently added the feature to allow users to find COVID-19 vaccine centre around them. Users will need to search with similar keywords like “COVID 19 vaccination" or “covid vaccination near me." Users will need to check the availability of slot with the hospital directly. To book a slot, the central government has developed a dedicated CoWIN website and an integrated platform with the Aarogya Setu app.
Notably, users can also use similar COVID-19 vaccine and testing centre keywords on Google search (both web and apps) to find information. The Apple Maps for iOS running devices also allows users to find centre information; however, the feature is available in select countries excluding India. Google Maps users must ensure they are using its latest version.