X Close

No rapid antigen test on asymptomatic persons, Mumbai private hospitals told


MUMBAI: Private hospitals in Mumbai can conduct rapid antigen tests (RATs) on walk-in serious patients having influenza-like symptoms, but the same can not be done on asymptomatic persons, the city civic body has said.

RAT, considered a quick and cheap way to discover coronavirus, detects the presence of viral proteins in a sample from the respiratory tract of a person.

According to new guidelines of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued on April 5, without permission from the local authorities, no hospital can start rapid antigen tests for detection of coronavirus in its premises.

"RAT shall not be done for any asymptomatic walk- in persons," the BMC said.

The guidelines said it has been observed that some private hospitals were carrying out RATs without permission from the local authorities or through the ICMR-approved laboratories.

Highlighting that RATs are done on admitted patients as per Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, the BMC directed hospitals to upload negative or positive report of the patient on the ICMR portal within 24 hours after sharing it with the admitted persons.

"Subsequently, the list of positive patients should be shared with the Epid Cell of BMC on the day of sample collection by 23.59 hours," the guidelines said.

The BMC said if beds are available in hospitals and the RAT result comes positive, symptomatic patients may be admitted after consulting the respective Ward War Room.

In case beds are not available, such patients should be counselled for home isolation and his/her report should be uploaded on the ICMR portal.

In another set of guidelines, the civic body has directed private laboratories to upload COVID-19 test reports on the ICMR portal first and inform positive status to the patient on the subsequent day.

The civic body issued these guidelines after observing that laboratories were not following the norm of maintaining 24-hour Turn Around Time (TAT) and sharing test reports directly with patients before informing the BMC.

"This is adversely affecting allotment of beds to needy patients," the guidelines stated.

The guidelines directed laboratories to give priority on sample collection to symptomatic persons over asymptomatic ones.

The civic body warned of strict action, including cancellation of licence, in case of violations by laboratories.