BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal asks private hospitals to buy govt-approved rapid antigen testing kits

Mumbai: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has urged 35 major private hospitals in the city to procure government-approved rapid antigen testing kits and instructed chief executive officers of medical labs about using them. The civic body is all set to procure one lakh rapid antigen testing kits for the city under its campaign 'Mission Universal Testing'.

The civic body has appealed to private companies and corporate houses to buy government-approved kits antigen kits to test employees to contain the spread of the infection once private offices resume following further ease and relaxations in lockdown restrictions.

These kits will also be used at all civic, state-run hospitals and COVID-19 care and treatment facilities to test suspected patients and ensure timely treatment, said Chahal. He added, "We will purchase one lakh antigen testing kits to ensure speedy results for suspected COVID-19 patients. Our strategy is a quick treatment, prevention of death."

According to a release issued on Tuesday by the BMC, the civic body has initiated Mission Universal Testing, under which it will use ICMR-approved rapid antigen testing kits that provide results within 15 to 30 minutes.

"At present, RT-PCR tests are being used to detect infections, but the results of antigen tests will be much faster as compared to the RT-PCR. In a government resolution dated June 22, the state government has permitted the use of rapid tests," Chahal said. Under the campaign 'Mission Universal Testing', the BMC plans to increase the testing capacity from 4,500 to 6,500, the release stated.

Meanwhile, the BMC has permitted high-risk contacts of COVID-19 patients, who are home quarantined, to test themselves for the infection using these kits from medical laboratories. "We have also instructed private labs to conduct tests using E-prescriptions," added Chahal.

BMC has also allowed senior citizens above 70-years-old and their help/domestic staff/ caretakers to get tested at laboratories without any prescriptions from doctors.

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