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Antigen tests get big boost in Delhi-NCR | India News

NEW DELHI: All district magistrates in the capital have been asked by the Delhi government to conduct 2,000 antigen tests for Covid-19 daily in areas under their jurisdiction so that the number of people being tested could be doubled. Delhi has 11 districts.
Over 10,000 antigen tests were conducted on Wednesday along with 9,913 RTPCR tests. The focus is now on testing because the positivity rate in Delhi has been going down for the past one week, which many believe is a sign that the disease is finally under check.
In pursuance of his call for a unified strategy for Delhi-NCR in the fight against Covid, home minister Amit Shah too has stressed the need to reduce the infection transmission rate by conducting more testing through antigen kits.
At a review meeting on the situation and containment strategies, which was chaired by Shah and attended by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan and the CMs of Delhi, UP & Haryana through video-conferencing, the home minister said that more testing through rapid antigen kits would help bring down the infection transmission rate below 10%, as suggested by WHO.
Observing that nearly 90% screening was possible through these kits, he offered to provide these kits to UP and Haryana according to their requirement.
Rapid antigen tests started in the capital on June 18 after the Centre provided nearly six lakh kits to the Delhi government. On the first day, 7,040 people were tested at more than 160 centres. Of these, 456 people were found positive for Covid-19.
“Each district has been conducting 500-1,000 tests daily. Till date, the focus of antigen testing has been on the containment zones because people living there were considered to be facing a high risk of getting infected. All the red zones have been covered, except some that were created recently,” said an official.
Delhi high court had recently called the daily antigen test number “abysmal” and asked the state government to increase it. Currently, there are 167 antigen testing centres in the capital – eight in East district, six in Northeast, 10 in South, 25 in North, 12 in West, 10 in Southeast, 21 in Northwest, 44 in Southwest, 15 in Central and eight each in Shahdara and New Delhi.
A district official said that while the number of antigen tests were being increased, teams on the ground realised that people were not eager to come to the testing centres. “The field teams have been asked to increase the number of tests to 2,000 daily. They are making all efforts to motivate people to come forward and get themselves tested,” added the official.
Currently, there are 406 active containment zones with the Southwest district having the highest number – 78. The Northeast district has only six zones. “Apart from containment zones, we are conducting tests in buffer zones and at hospitals where the exposure to Covid-19 is greater,” said an official.
The state government wants to expand the testing base to ascertain if the situation is really under control. So far, Delhi has tested 5.7 lakh people, of which 92,175 have tested positive, nearly 2,800 have died and nearly 63,007 have recovered. The capital has around 26,304 active cases.

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