Starting today, residents of Delhi can get themselves tested for COVID-19 through RT-PCR, without a doctor's prescription. Earlier, a prescription written by a registered medical practitioner was required at any testing center, however, now it has been decided that there will be no requirement of a prescription from a qualified medical practitioner. The number of such tests would be limited to 2,000 a day and would be subject to the individual presenting an Aadhaar with a Delhi address. The additional 2,000 tests are besides the daily total testing capacity of 12,000 available with the Delhi government.
COVID-designated government and private hospitals along with polyclinics are carrying RT-PCR tests. Rapid antigen tests are also being carried out at local healthcare centers, hospitals and camps organised at various places.
“Test-track-treat strategy has been adopted to ensure early detection and containment of Covid-19. In continuation of various measures undertaken by the government to augment Covid-19 testing and ensuring greater accessibility, it has been decided that there will be no requirement of a prescription from a qualified medical practitioner,” an order by the health department read.
“However, the tests will be conducted in accordance with the strategy issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research and according to the order issued by Delhi government,” the order added.
The order has been sent to the chiefs of all government and private hospitals, district magistrates, chief district medical officer and heads of all the laboratories.
“We have received the order from the health department to carry out the tests without a prescription. Since the order came late, the tests will start being conducted from Thursday. Earlier, suspected patients were required to visit a doctor for the RT-PCR tests, but now they just need to submit a copy of their Aadhaar card,” said a government source.
The way for tests “on demand” was cleared by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday, who directed health minister Satyendar Jain to start the process.
Delhi High Court had also given order the same day stating that a doctor’s prescription was not mandatory from now for people who voluntarily wanted to undergo RT-PCR test.
Delhi government has doubled the number of COVID tests over the past week from 20,000 every day to more than 40,000.