Mumbai: Demand for Covid tests drops 40% in city labs amid strict lockdown curbs

There has been a 40 per cent drop in the demand for Covid-19 testing at the laboratories in Mumbai. Since the second wave started a laboratory used to collect 20,000 to 25,000 Covid-19 samples in a single day which has now reduced to 12,000 to 15,000 daily. Civic officials said the tests have been reduced as in most places there is an exemption on RT-PCR reports. Moreover, there is no delay in getting the Covid-19 reports across the city.

Chandrashekhar Mani, vice president (operations), Thyrocare, said the demand for RT-PCR reports have reduced due to which sample collection has dropped. When the second wave started it was mandatory to carry RT-PCR reports and all corporate offices also made it compulsory for Covid reports. “I have learnt that since cases started to reduce in the city, the demand for sample collection also dropped due to which we are collecting only 12,000 to 15,000 Covid samples in a single day as compared to 25,000 which was done since the second wave started,” he said.

He further said there are no backlogs and the reports are being delivered within 48 hours.

Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, said the number of testing had started to reduce since mid-April when the state government had imposed strict restrictions. However, they expect the testing will increase in the coming days. “Testing has reduced as all the shops, restaurants are shut due to which flow of citizens has been reduced leading to decrease in the number of Covid testing. However the ratio of Covid testing is 67:33, which 67 per cent of RT-PCR and 33 per cent is rapid antigen test (RAT), while the RAT has been reduced by 7 per cent amid restrictions in the city,” he said.

In the first week of May, BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had urged Mumbaikars to come forward and get their Covid-19 test done so that they can "flush out coronavirus from Mumbai's environment".. Moreover the civic chief agreed that the covid-19 tests have been reduced in the city as the natural demand for home collection of swabs from our citizens has reduced in the last few days

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, state advisor on the Covid-19 and former director-general of health services, said, “There is no doubt that testing is very important, but testing apparatus also has its limitations. There are operational difficulties as we cannot stretch them beyond a limit. We are also facing challenges in contact tracing as the entire machinery is overburdened with multiple responsibilities such as vaccination. We are trying to find out alternatives to deal with the situation.”

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