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Tripura gets first mobile Covid-19 testing van in northeast, CM says will cut down PPE wastage

Through this mobile kiosk, medical experts can collect swab samples from inside a glass encasement, thereby negating the chances of having any physical exposure to the virus.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | Updated: April 28, 2020 2:48:55 pm
A mobile rapid testing coronavirus van in Tripura. (Source: Debraj Deb)

As part of an initiative to undertake rapid random community testing for coronavirus in the state, Tripura got its first mobile Covid-19 testing van, arguably the first-of-its-kind in the northeast region so far. The vehicle – essentially a three-wheeler, heavy-duty auto with a Covid-19 testing kiosk mounted on it – was conceived from the Kerala model of testing where stationary testing kiosks are placed in front of hospitals.

Through this mobile kiosk, medical experts can collect swab samples from inside a glass encasement, thereby negating the chances of having any physical exposure to the virus. The contraption was designed and provided by Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) Smart City Project and it took barely a lakh to be made.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, AMC Commissioner Dr. Sailesh Kumar Yadav said the device is expected to cancel the necessity of using new PPE kits every time samples are collected during random testing. He said since there is no Covid-19 patient in any Tripura hospital anymore, the municipal corporation decided to adopt the mobile testing vehicle model.

Also Read | ‘Don’t take coronavirus lightly, stay indoors’: Tripura’s second Covid-19 patient after recovery

Tripura, at the moment, doesn’t have any more Covid-19 patients in hospitals after the state’s second positive patient was released Saturday from the isolation center at state-run GB Panth Hospital . The state is now under green zone.

Mobile testing van in Tripura. (Source: Biplab Deb Facebook)

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb took to Facebook and wrote, “Agartala Smart City has designed a mobile van for COVID-19 sample collection and handed it over to West Tripura Chief Medical Officer. It ensure safety of doctors collecting samples and prevents wastage of PPE. This three-wheeler van can easily ply narrow lanes and facilitate easy sample collection from entire community. Now patients wouldn’t need to go to hospitals to provide samples. Besides, it will help in testing large number of tests in short period of time.”

Meanwhile, West Tripura CMO Debashish Das today informed that the mobile testing van is being used at Maharajganj Bazaar and all major markets of Agartala to collect samples from people who show high temperatures during thermal scanner checking on them at the marketplaces. Medical teams are deployed at the markets to check random people with thermal scanners; if anyone shows high temperature, their samples are collected and sent for testing at GB Panth Hospital, the only authorised COVID-19 testing facility of Tripura. The van would cover different sub-divisions in latter phases, the official informed.

Kallakurichi in Tamil Nadu used a remodeled van as mobile Covid-19 sample collection vehicle earlier this month to speed up checking of people showing coronavirus symptoms.

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