A serological survey to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the spread of COVID-19 in Delhi commenced in some parts of the city on Saturday amid a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which comes under the Union Health Ministry, will collect blood samples from 20,000 people and test it to ascertain the presence of antibodies. The survey will be conducted till July 10.

The ministry has also advised the Delhi government to ascertain details of people who had succumbed to the virus, including how many days before death the person was brought to hospital and from where.

“We should find out if the person was in home isolation and whether she/he was hospitalised in time. Every death has to be reported in a timely manner to the ministry. All hospitals have been directed to handover bodies to the next of kin and perform last rites of the deceased,” said a senior ministry official.

“The sudden surge in cases in the Capital prompted the Indian Council of Medical Research [ICMR] to supply 50,000 approved antigen-based rapid tests kits to the Delhi government free of cost,” added the official.

The ICMR said it has so far supplied diagnostic material to 12 labs in Delhi for carrying out 4.7 lakh RT-PCR tests. It has also provided 1.57 lakh RNA extraction kits essential for carrying out the tests, and 2.84 lakh Viral Transport Medium and swabs for collection of COVID-19 samples.

The ministry added that the NCDC has supported the efforts of the State government through technical guidance on all aspects of COVID-19 surveillance and response strategy, and also provided laboratory diagnostic support for processing of samples by RT-PCR, including trainings of lab professionals of the Delhi government.

“Technical support by the NCDC includes 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 revised Delhi COVID-19 response plan; and planning and execution of sero-prevalence study on COVID-19 in Delhi,” the ministry stated.

Meanwhile, a 10,000-bed COVID Care Centre is being developed at Radha Soami Satsang Beas in Chhatarpur. Around 2,000 beds are already operational and the rest will be ready soon.

“A 1,000-bed green field hospital built by the DRDO and manned by doctors and paramedical staffers from the Army will start functioning next week near Dhaula Kuan,” the ministry said.

The Centre has also procured and distributed 11.11 lakh N95 masks, 6.81 lakh PPE kits, 44.8 lakh HCQ tablets in Delhi. Also, 425 ventilators were allocated to Delhi and all have been delivered to various hospitals in the city, it added.

Delhi has 34 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, four dedicated health centres, and 24 dedicated care centres. Currently, a total of 62 facilities in Delhi are engaged in treating the virus. The number of these facilities is being increased on a daily basis, the Ministry said.

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