Festive lull: Mumbai’s COVID-19 testing dips 10% in past one month

There has been a 10 percent drop in the number of COVID-19 testing in the last month. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) data said, as many as 3,62,331 (35.78 percent) coronavirus testing was done between September 21 and October 20 which dropped to 3,48,874 in the last one month. This means only 25 percent testing was done between October 21 and November 20.

BMC officials said due to the festival seasons, there has been a drop in the number of tests following which the number of cases was also less than 1,000 in the last one week. However, the average testing at the starting of November was 13,000 to 14,000 which also reduced to 10,000 during festivals.

BMC has stated that it will increase targeted testing in the coming days in Mumbai. Targeting groups that were engaged in activities magnifying direct contact, this screening drive will be testing shopkeepers, hawkers, drivers and conductors of BEST and MSERT buses and other frontline workers including police officers. All catering, staff, security guards and health-medicinal officials will be tested as well.

Mumbai was conducting as many as 14,000 samples a day before the Diwali, where testing dropped to 5,399 samples and 3,918 samples last week, lowest tallies in the last few months. Previously also, Mumbai witnessed a dip in COVID-19 testing on the occasion of Dussehra, when the city tested only 7,576 samples as compared to 11,643 and 15,825 tests on the preceding and following days of the festival, respectively.

Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “We are increasing tests by undertaking drives to test bus drivers, shop owners and other citizens who came in contact with multiple people. We are also testing at over 200 free testing centres and due to this, the testing will go up.”

Starting November 17, over 10,000 tests have been conducted daily in Mumbai as compared to 3,000 to 9,000 tests daily in the first 15 days of November. Moreover, BMC currently maintains a ratio of 60-40 or 70-30 in favour of the RT-PCR method. Overall, 17.39 lakh tests have been conducted in Mumbai. The overall positivity rate is 15.66 percent.

The BMC officials said they would continue testing more than usual to detect cases at the earliest. The BMC has also started visiting homes of migrants who returned to the city in the last few days.

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