On Wednesday, Delhi recorded 25,986 new cases and 368 fresh fatalities. The new cases came out of 81,829 tests, including 55,702 RT-PCR and 26,127 rapid antigen tests (RAT). The data shared by the health department shows Delhi recorded maximum 1.14 lakh Covid-19 tests in a day on April 11. Since then, the count has been below the one-lakh mark.
The average number of tests conducted over the past two weeks has also reduced. In the second week of April, Delhi conducted an average of 99,460 tests daily. In the third and fourth weeks, it reduced to 76,195 and 73,027, respectively. “The reduction in testing at a time when the Covid-19 outbreak is at its peak is wrong. We should be conducting more tests to ensure timely diagnosis, isolation and treatment,” doctors say.
But Suman Kumar, a resident of Green Park, said, “I have been trying all labs to book home collection for two days but there is no response. Most of the labs and hospitals aren’t even taking calls.”
There are two main types of tests for Covid-19. RT-PCR, which detects the presence of infection by targeting specific genetic sequences of SARS CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19, has 68% to 80% sensitivity — ability to correctly identify the infection. The second is RAT that detects the presence of infection by targeting specific viral proteins present in the patient sample. Though RAT gives results faster, it throws up a high rate of false negative results.
RT-PCR testing is available for free at government hospitals while private labs charge Rs 800 and an additional Rs 400 for home collection.
In the past few weeks, there have been multiple complaints of private labs refusing home collection due to unavailability of staff or results being delayed. The labs say this is because they are overburdened.