Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to stop home collection of samples for corona testing in 90 per cent of the cases. Civic health officials said from now on, those wanting to be tested would have to approach fever clinics nearby and if they so wanted, they could go to private laboratories for testing.
This move comes after the BMC changed its protocol for sample collection and has also directed private laboratories to stop door-to-door collection. “It was learnt that the samples collected by the private laboratories kept piling up, causing a backlog of cases and delaying submission of results,” said an official.
There are four government laboratories, testing more than 3,000 swab samples daily. On the other hand, the private laboratories can test 2,500 samples but they are collecting more samples than they can handle, necessitating the BMC decision to stop doorstep collection.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said they had received several complaints that private labs are in violation of testing protocol and were not submitting reports on time. “We have stopped home collection and citizens can visit nearby fever clinics, where testing will be free,” he said.
Earlier, a person wanting to get tested for corona had to call the BMC helpline, requesting a Covid-19 test. Once the request was received, it would be conveyed to a private laboratory nearby, which would then dispatch a technician to the person's home for this purpose.
As per the new protocol, those wanting to be tested for corona must call the BMC helpline at 1916, which will help them locate the nearest fever clinic. “Once the patient reaches the fever clinic, the doctor will check for symptoms and if the person has none, they will be given medicines. If they show corona-like symptoms, they will be quarantined and their samples sent to the government labs for testing,” explained Kakani.
The BMC had recently issued show-cause notices to private laboratories for violating the testing protocol and late submission of reports.