To determine the spread of the coronavirus disease in the national capital, the Delhi government has decided to undertake serological survey using rapid antibody tests from June 27. The survey will cover 20,000 people across Delhi’s 11 districts. The National Centre for Disease Control, which functions under the health ministry and the state government will jointly conduct the survey to understand the resident’s past exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
As a part of sero-survey, the government was planning to conduct antibody tests among asymptomatic police and security personnel, healthcare workers, staff members of municipal bodies and individuals in the containment zone.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the use of antibody tests using two methods: ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and CLIA (chemiluminescence immunoassay). ICMR has approved IgG ELISA kits for COVID-19. The medical body also said USFDA approved IgG ELISA and CLIA kits are also available and can be used.
In May, ICMR conducted a pilot serosurvey across 83 districts in 21 states. The results showed that the percentage of general population to have been infected in the past was 0.73%, with urban areas having shown higher COVID-19 prevalence of about 1.09%.
The sero-survey is part of Delhi government’s revised COVID-19 response plan. The state government planned to focus more on contact tracing and testing amid the rising number of coronavirus cases in the capital. All symptomatic contacts and asymptomatic high-risk contacts will be tested between fifth and tenth day of contact as per the latest guidelines. The coronavirus patients from highly-dense areas will be sent to COVID care centres. The formation of containment zone will be done within 24 hours of detecting COVID-19 cases. The travel information of anonymous COVID-19 patients will be in the public domain. The state government urged all to download Arogya Setu app, especially those who are containment zones.
The rise in number of cases is a matter of concern but there is no need to panic as the COVID-19 situation is “still under control”, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asserted.
“We have increased our capacity of testing by three times and hence, cases are rising in the city… If we conduct 1-2 lakh tests daily in the coming days, it is natural to observe a spike in the number of coronavirus cases,” he said.
The state government has started providing ‘oximeters’ for coronavirus patients who are under isolation at their homes. “We have delivered oximeter to the patients who are getting treatment at their homes. This oximeter is your protective shield. Try and measure your oxygen in every one or two hours,” Kejriwal said.
“If your oxygen level is less than 94, please inform us on the helpline number and the oxygen will be provided to you in immediately and you will be shifted to the hospital if needed,” he added.
The national capital reported 73,780 coronavirus cases. At least 2,429 people died due to COVID-19 infection in the state. Delhi was one of the worst-hit state by coronavirus pandemic.