- Early diagnosis will increase with rapid antigen tests: Ms. Mahajan
- Those who test positive with antigen to be tested through RT-PCR: Official
- Rapid antigen tests can provide results in 30 minutes: Official
Chandigarh: Punjab government has allowed free walk-in testing for COVID-19 at the government hospitals and mobile vans. “Punjab has decided to allow free walk-in testing in government hospitals and mobile vans, and similar testing at a nominal manpower cost not exceeding Rs 250 by private doctors and hospitals, to encourage increased COVID testing to check the surge in cases in the state. People who want their result immediately can opt for rapid antigen testing while RT-PCR testing will also be similarly available,” an official release said.
The state will also explore similar arrangements for rapid antigen testing by pharmacists/chemists on the lines of private hospitals and doctors.
It said the decision was taken on Thursday by Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, who said the government will provide training and kits to private hospitals and doctors for the tests, which will be allowed on the basis of Aadhar card and mobile numbers, without any questions asked or need for ‘parchis’ (slips).
With test results available for rapid antigen test in 30 minutes, this will lead to substantial increase in testing and early diagnosis and treatment, she said.
Those who test positive through rapid antigen test or are symptomatic but negative can be tested again through RT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction) test for confirmation, she said while reviewing COVID situation with the DCs and civil surgeons of Patiala, Bathinda, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Mohali districts.
The Chief Secretary also asked DCs to explore rapid antigen test at private hospitals and pharmacies/chemist shops at a nominal manpower cost not exceeding Rs 250 per test, with proper training and kits to be provided by the government. The test results and data so collected by private hospitals and chemists and others can be uploaded on the government portal for further action, she added.
In another directive amid the surge in cases and deaths in Punjab, the Chief Secretary has also instructed that the 104 Helpline number should provide real-time information on bed availability district-wise. She directed the DCs and civil surgeons to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen cylinders in their respective districts.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.