Mumbai: New civic testing protocol forbids asymptomatic patients without co-morbidities from getting tested for Covid. But a circular issued by the BMC on Thursday said its 227 councillors and their kin could undergo testing at private labs, excluding Metropolis and Thyrocare.
Activists have questioned this move. The notice has come after councillors have been involved in activities like visiting containment zones or their civic constituencies, to help citizens or supply food in the containment zones.
Right-to-Information (RTI) activist Anil Galgali said the BMC should treat everyone equally, be it their councillors or employees at the forefront of the Covid war, treating or helping covid patients. Further, he has questioned why they cannot be tested at government laboratories, why the need for private labs.
Why were such steps not taken earlier, to test doctors, nurses and Class IV employees who are actually in contact with Covid patients daily? Suddenly, the BMC wants to give special treatment to its councillors and their relatives? points out Galgali.
As per the BMC's new protocol, corona testing should only be for symptomatic patients and their high-risk contacts. Asymptomatic patients will be quarantined at its Covid care centres and will be tested between the 5th and 14th days of their quarantine.
Civic officials have said the circular issued on April 30 states all councillors and their relatives should be tested at private labs, excluding Metropolis and Thyrocare. But in a new circular issued on Friday, it clarified, testing is only for those councillors (and their kin) who have been actively involved in food distribution activities in containment zones. “
We are not being biased towards anyone; testing protocol is the same for everyone. Councillors will only be tested if they have symptoms or have been in contact with infected patients,” said an official.
Further, as the BMC has served show-cause notices to Metropolis and Thyrocare laboratories for testing asymptomatic patients and delaying test reports, councillors and their kin cannot go to these places for testing. These two laboratories have been barred from collecting or testing any samples till further notice.