Coronavirus | Surge weakening, but getting a free COVID-19 test still difficult in Delhi

Some centres in Delhi not taking samples, others are putting a limit on testing

The COVID-19 situation in Delhi is improving, but getting a free COVID-19 test is still a difficult task for many as some government testing centres are not conducting tests. Hence, people are queuing up at some functional centres as early as 5 a.m. to get a test. The window for testing too is small — from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At Gautampuri Awas in Sarita Vihar, 30 people lined up outside the government-run testing centre at around 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

Less crowd

“We came here around 5 a.m. Earlier, there was testing in Badarpur, but now it is not functioning. I had tested positive and now I have come to get tested again after my recovery. Compared to the last time, the crowd is less,” said Chetram Singh (48), a CISF personnel, who was the first person in the queue.

No shelter from rain

Soti Paswan, who works as a cook at a restaurant, said he had gone to his village in Bihar and needed test result before joining work. “Others who work with me and got tested here said I will have to come at 5 a.m. to get the token. I walked from the place where I am staying with a friend, who also wants to take a test. It is drizzling and we have been sitting outside the gate. There is no tent or any other facility,” said Mr. Soti, who earns ₹15,000 a month.

Around 9 a.m., there were nine people waiting outside the gate of Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College in Defence Colony, which has a COVID-19 testing centre. Some were waiting for more than half an hour and the testing has yet to start. At Old Delhi, government dispensaries in Gali Guliyan and Dujana House were not conducting tests, though their names are on the list of testing centres.

Fewer tests

At Kasturba Hospital near Jama Masjid, healthcare workers at the testing counter said they do only 15 RT-PCR tests a day. “We conduct only 15 RT-PCR a day, but we do rapid antigen testing. We sit here till noon. So far, five people have been tested,” a health worker at the counter said.

“Yesterday [Tuesday] I came here and filled the form. After that, I reached the testing window around 12.30 p.m., but they said testing slots were over and asked me to come the next day,” said Bahadur Paswan, who lives in Chandni Chowk.

Inderpal Singh, who is in-charge of the government dispensary at Suiwalan in Old Delhi, said: “We are doing tests, but there is no crowd here. Due to the lockdown and Ramzan, a few people have been coming for tests also. But still, we are testing around 30-40 people a day.”

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