BMC Allows Coronavirus Tests Without Prescription For People in Mumbai

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People can test themselves for coronavirus infection at designated private laboratories in Mumbai without a doctor's prescription, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Tuesday. The civic body also informed that those kept in institutional quarantine will be discharged only when they test negative for the virus. Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal took the decision to allow testing without medical prescription in view of increase in the number of private laboratories and their capacity, it said in a release. It will help people get treatment for coronavirus quicker, it added. Earlier, a doctor's prescription was needed for a test. "If the test comes out positive, a (hospital) bed will be allotted through ward-level 'War Rooms' of the municipal corporation," the BMC release said. Patients in institutional isolation will not be released unless they test negative, it said. For testing, private labs can charge the rates fixed by the government. The Union government has given permission to conduct coronavirus tests to 17 private laboratories in the city. Private labs can charge Rs 2,500 for a COVID-19 test. The rate is Rs 2,800 if the test is conducted at home. As per the BMC, 3,63,120 tests have been conducted in the city so far. Mumbai's COVID-19 case count stood at 86,132 as on Tuesday with 4,999 deaths, as per the BMC. Mumbai added 806 new cases, the lowest singe-day figure in nearly two months, to its tally in the day. Welcoming the BMC move, guardian minister of Mumbai suburban district Aaditya Thackeray said it will make citizens feel safer. "The @mybmc has decided to open up testing to any individual in the city without prescription/ self attestation. Labs can now conduct RT PCR tests as per ICMR guidelines at the will of anyone. This will help citizens feel safer and test when they have a doubt, without any delays," Thackeray tweeted.