The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will purchase one lakh antigen testing kits to ensure speedy results for suspected COVID-19 patients, an official said on Wednesday.
According to a release issued on Tuesday, the civic body has initiated Mission Universal Testing, under which it will use ICMR-approved antigen testing kits that provide results within 15 to 30 minutes.
These kits will be used at all civic, state-run hospitals and COVID-19 treatment facilities to test suspected patients and ensure timely treatment, the release stated.
At present, RT-PCR tests are being used to detect infections, but the results of antigen tests will be comparatively faster, the civic body said.
Municipal commissioner I S Chahal has also urged 35 major private hospitals in the city to procure government- approved antigen testing kits and instructed chief executive officers of medical labs about using them.
According to the BMC, in a government resolution dated June 22, the state government has permitted the use of rapid tests.
The civic body has appealed to private companies and corporate houses to buy government-approved kits to test employees to contain the spread of the infection once work resumes following ease in lockdown restrictions, the official said.
Under Mission Universal Testing, the BMC plans to increase the testing capacity from 4,500 to 6,500, the release stated.
Meanwhile, the BMC has permitted high-risk contacts of COVID-19 patients, who are home quarantined, to test themselves for the infection using kits from medical laboratories.
It has also allowed senior citizens above 70 years and their helpers to get tested at laboratories without any prescriptions from doctors, it was stated.