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Delhi: At bus terminals and railway stations, lab techs, volunteers have hands full as testing ramps up


Every morning, a team of 17 lab technicians, 45 civil defence volunteers and two doctors gear up to test passengers arriving at the interstate bus terminal (ISBT) and railway station in Anand Vihar. Covid testing takes place in two phases — from 9 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm — at a camp inside the bus terminal.

On Saturday, lab technicians said their target for the day is to test 1,100 people in the morning and 700 for the afternoon. After completing their morning target, they broke for lunch. The team then numbered the test kits from 1-700. Meanwhile, some civil defence volunteers took rounds to inform people about the testing facility, while others helped prepare the test kits.

Manish Khera, who is in-charge of the camp, said, “The camp was set up last September and testing has been going on continuously. However, the numbers have increased in the last few days since cases are rising. Our target is 1,850 for the day, of which 1,800 will be RT-PCR tests. In case people want antigen tests, test kits are available for them too.” Prior to this, officials said a maximum of 1,000 tests were being carried out in a day.

On March 23, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority had circulated an order stating that random tests will be conducted at bus stands, railway stations and airports of persons coming from states with a high caseload. Regarding this, Khera said, “Of course it is important to test more people coming from states where cases are high. But it is not possible to keep an eye out for people only from certain states. So testing is open to all and everyone is encouraged to get tested.”

As reported by The Indian Express, random testing of samples collected from 50,811 people at IGI airport, five railway stations, four bus terminals and one border point over the last one week has thrown up 532 positive cases — a positivity rate of 1.04%.

Civil defence volunteer Sumair Khan said nobody is forced to get tested: “We just inform people that testing is taking place. Of late, many have been telling us that they got vaccinated and don’t require a test. But we explain to them that it is better to be on the safe side.”

Officials said most passengers getting tested are from Uttar Pradesh and that testing has nearly doubled in the last 10 days as targets have increased.

By 2 pm, passengers again queued up at the camp and registered with their mobile numbers before getting tested. Vinod Kumar (35), who was among the first in line, said, “I just came from Ghaziabad and was informed that I could get tested here. I was supposed to get a test done because I travel every day. I stay with two children and my wife and work at a company in Anand Vihar. The company has also been asking us to get tested.”

After registering, passengers were sent a link to the ICMR portal where they can access their results in two days. For passengers who might not have smartphones, authorities said they can give the number of a family member or friend. Authorities said a similar procedure is followed at all other bus stands and railway stations.

Meanwhile, at Old Delhi Railway Station, the camp was set up from 8 am to 12 pm. After their targets for the day were complete, authorities packed up and left.


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