It is well accepted now that conducting the maximum number of tests possible to check for Covid-19 positive cases, along with measures such as social distancing, is of paramount importance to check the spread of the novel Coronavirus outbreak, which is spreading across India at an alarming rate.

In an attempt to make it more convenient for people to get themselves tested, SRL Diagnostics has launched three drive-through testing centres in Mumbai, one of the worst affected cities in the country. These centres are located at the Indiabulls Finance Centre building in Lower Parel; Celestia Spaces in Sewri; and Lodha Supremus in Kanjurmarg.

“Sites like these are needed greatly as active Covid cases in Mumbai are increasing exponentially and drive-throughs as a concept work as a great tool to fast-track sample collection for Covid-19. Not only is the method faster, but it also limits human interaction with potentially infected people, further preventing the spread of the virus,” said Ravi Aggarwal, regional chief operating officer–south, west, central India and international business, SRL Diagnostics.

At these drive-through centres, patients can offer their swab samples without stepping out of their cars. The patient remains seated in the passenger seat next to the driver or in the left rear seat. The patient’s nasal or throat swab sample is taken through the car window. The entire process takes around five to 10 minutes, and results can be obtained the same day if the sample is given before noon.

The number of Coronavirus positive cases in India has seen a sharp spike over the last few days. At last count, India had 9,152 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 308 deaths. Maharashtra has been the worst affected with 1,619 cases and 149 deaths. Most of the cases in the state can be traced to capital Mumbai (which accounts for as many as 1,182 cases) and neighbouring Pune. Maharashtra’s chief minister Uddhav Thackeray recently announced that his government will be extending the lockdown in Maharashtra till April 30. This is an extension of the nationwide 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which began on March 25. Many other states like Odisha and Punjab have also extended the lockdown and it is widely anticipated that the central government might announce an extension of the lockdown for the entire country shortly.

The concept of drive-through centres originated in South Korea, which has done relatively better in containing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve of new cases by mass-scale testing and isolation. Drive-through centres also help reduce the pressure on the existing healthcare infrastructure, which is witnessing a shortage of personal protective equipment like masks and gloves for healthcare workers. SRL has also launched a similar drive-through testing centre in Gurugram, Haryana.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, India tested 195,748 samples from 181,028 individuals as on April 12.

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