New Delhi, June 27 : The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Saturday began a 14-day serological survey across Delhi to ascertain the presence of anti-bodies among people. Under the survey, from June 27 to July 10, blood samples from 20,000 persons will be tested, said a Health Ministry statement, adding that the survey is part of the Centre’s support to states and Union Territories (UTs) to combat COVID-19.
The survey has begun at a time when the number of COVID-19 patients in the national capital has crossed 77,000.
Looking at the sudden surge of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved antigen-based rapid tests and supplied 50,000 such rapid test kits to the Delhi government. “ICMR has provided all these test kits free of cost to Delhi,” the Ministry said.
Till date, the ICMR has supplied diagnostic material for carrying out 4.7 lakh RT-PCR tests to the 12 functional labs in Delhi. It has also provided 1.57 lakh RNA extraction kits essential for carrying out the tests and 2.84 lakh VTMs (Viral Transport Medium) and swabs for collection of Covid-19 samples. The Ministry further said its NCDC department has supported the efforts of Delhi government through technical guidance on all aspects of the COVID-19 surveillance and response strategy.
Among the steps taken were the identification and assessment of quarantine facilities and COVID Care Centres (CCC) at the beginning of the epidemic; orientation training and technical support on surveillance, contact tracing and lab aspects including infection prevention and control; data analysis and timely feedback to the Delhi government on the gaps identified and suggested solutions. The NCDC has also provided laboratory diagnostic support for processing of samples by RT-PCR including training of lab professionals of the Delhi government.
Technical support by the NCDC included deployment of multiple central teams of experts for situational analysis and subsequent recommendations; deployment of public health experts to coordinate and provide technical inputs to district level teams in implementation of the revised Delhi COVID Response Plan; and planning and execution of a sero-prevalence study on COVID 19 in Delhi.
The revised Delhi COVID response plan has been prepared with the active support of the NCDC, the Ministry added.