Coronavirus: Gurugram runs out of rapid antigen test kits
Already facing a surge of coronavirus cases, Gurugram on Thursday faced an unprecedented problem — the Haryana city ran out of rapid antigen test kits. RATs, though not considered as efficient as the RT-PCR tests, come in handy during contact tracing as results are known in just 15 minutes. The results of gold standard RT-PCR tests are declared nearly 24 hours later.
Gurugram has conducted the most number of coronavirus tests in Haryana. Of the state's 29,30,335 tests, 3,98,541 were conducted in Gurugram. 2,61,947 tests have been conducted in Faridabad. In Gurugram, 2,73,606 samples were tested through the RT-PCR method and 1,24,935 via the rapid antigen kits. The city has 6,110 active cases and 236 have died so far. Of the deceased, 181 had co-morbidities.
Gurugram, like its bordering Delhi, is witnessing a sudden COVID-19 spike after October 20. To note, Gurugram's positivity rate is almost 15%, when the national average is a little more than 3%. This implies that now, more than ever, the city needs RATs for effective contact tracing. So far, RATs have played a crucial role in screening vulnerable populations, especially in containment zones.
Notably, Gurugram's authorities have put in a word with the higher-ups regarding the shortage of RATs, reports TOI. "We have already informed the state government about the requirement of antigen kits. We will conduct more RT-PCR tests till we receive RAT kits," said the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Virender Yadav. On Thursday, the city recorded 692 fresh coronavirus cases and three deaths.
Air pollution is being cited as one of the main reasons for the spike in NCR. Last week, the Health Ministry admitted that the coronavirus-air pollution connection was proving to be disastrous. "The virus doesn't respect geographies. This is a big urban conglomerate so what is happening is in a continuum," said NITI Aayog's Dr. VK Paul, while talking about Delhi and neighboring areas.
Anticipating a rise in coronavirus cases during the festive season, the Gurugram administration had earlier released guidelines, which banned celebrations in containment zones. Apart from making wearing masks/face covers mandatory, the advisory also asked people above 60, having co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children aged less than 10, to remain at home. DCP Gurugram had said awareness drives are being run to promote coronavirus-appropriate behavior.