Four employees of a private lab in Delhi were suggested home quarantine after a woman who came to give her blood samples later tested positive for COVID-19, it is learnt.
Residents of Ashok Vihar, the employees said they have been sitting at their houses for more than 18 days now, even as their test results are still awaited.
“We were in a lab on March 2 when we received a call from the authorities at RML that a woman has tested positive for the virus and since we are a part of contact tracing, we need to give samples and home quarantine ourselves. It’s been 18 days now but our reports are still not out. Everyone in our colony has been talking about the incident and we have nowhere to go,” said a lab assistant on condition of anonymity.
Several other asymptomatic patients who have been quarantined at home are similarly waiting for the test results. In Delhi, a total of 20 people have tested positive for the virus. Till earlier this week, only AIIMS and NCDC were authorised to test the samples collected at RML and Safdarjung for COVID-19.
“The load on both the labs is extremely high as a large number of samples are coming for testing. Doctors are not collecting samples for all patients visiting the hospital; many are turned away and suggested home quarantine,” said a senior health official.
On March 18, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) constituted guidelines for private laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests and urged private set-ups to conduct the tests free of cost. These private centres would work under the domain of ICMR.
“We do not know whether we are positive or not. If we are, treatment should begin, and if we are tested negative, we would want to get on with our lives,” said another lab assistant.
A senior NCDC official said: “We are trying to release the reports of as many patients as we can. On an average, the samples reports are out in 24 to 48 hours and then the patient is informed if they have tested positive for the disease. It may extend to two-three days.”
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