Coronavirus: Mumbai’s BMC orders ‘tests for all’ with no prescription

Mumbai: On Wednesday, In order to make the covid-19 test “easy and accessible” for the people of Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) has issued an order to conduct sample testing for all, irrespective of whether the person is symptomatic or asymptomatic and without any doctor’s prescription or self declaration. Antigen testing will be conducted in containment zones and hospitals.

On Tuesday, BMC said that all Laboratories including private ones were free to conduct testing on any individual according to the guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research without any doctor’s prescription including for home testing also. 

Laboratory test charges have been fixed at Rs 2,500 and for home testing one will have to pay Rs 2,800. In Mumbai there are 17 private labs that are conducting RT-PCR tests. 

Iqbal Singh Chahal Municipal Commissioner, revised the guidelines and said that “the most liberal covid-19 testing policy anywhere in India” and It will be implemented by BMC it will immediately effect. As of Tuesday Mumbai itself has reported 86,132 new cases and 4,999 deaths.

Earlier BMC was allowing tests only for symptomatic patients and doctor’s prescription was mandatory and it was also claimed that many asymptomatic patients rushed for testing to hospital in fear which was increasing burden for private labs and resulting in delay of test reports.

After coming with a number of problems BMC came up with the solution that apart from the hospitals,  antigen testing will also be conducted in the containment zones which will cover both symptomatic as well as high risk asymptomatic contacts. 

BMC said the All laboratories have been asked to first inform BMC of the patient’s result within the 24 hours of the tests being conducted. There should be no backlog otherwise labs will face action. 

BMC is targeting early detection of covid-19 cases under its new initiative of “track- test- track- treat” and we have instructed all hospitals and covid care centers to test all admitted patients who are found to be infected, Official says. 

We have  been asked to take the help of private labs for conducting at least 250 tests in a day with the help of rapid antigen testing kits.

BMC has changed its testing protocol nine times,  confirmed with central guidelines latest change has been made after the Union Health Ministry states to increase their testing capacity.

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