Coronavirus in Mumbai: BMC to increase testing capacity by 1,200 tests per day, to set up three RT-PCR labs
BL Soni

Amid rise in coronavirus cases in Mumbai, the BMC is planning to increase COVID-19 testing capacity by 1,200 tests a day by setting up dedicated labs for Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

According to a report by Mumbai Mirror, the civic body is planning to set up dedicated labs for RT-PCR tests at at three of the hospitals it runs - Sion, Cooper and Nair. Currently, Mumbai has six RT-PCR labs, BMC-run KEM and Kasturba hospitals, the state-run JJ hospital and Haffkine Institute in Parel, and the ICMR-run National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health and National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Haffkine.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra government is also planning to set up a single command centre to oversee coronavirus bed management in hospitals in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told news agency PTI that the centre could come up either in Thane or Navi Mumbai with the help of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). A single command centre, on the lines of the existing system in the financial capital, will help, he said.

"There is alreadya single command centre in Mumbai for testing and bed management. Its dashboard gives real-time data on availability of beds across the city. No one gets a bed for COVID-19 treatment directly (in Mumbai). He or she has to call the helpline or the ward-level `war room'," Tope said.

"But in MMR, I found that the beds at field hospitals in Thane city were empty while other satellite cities were facing shortage of beds," Tope said. The issue was discussed with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Thane guardian minister Eknath Shinde and both supported the idea of single command centre to solve the problem of bed availability in MMR, he added. The health minister also said that gyms in the state would be allowed to reopen at the earliest.

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