'You Don't Chew More Than You Digest': BMC Chief Admits Delay by Mumbai Labs in Giving Swab Reports

In a shocking revelation, BMC Commissioner IS Chahal on Monday admitted that some Mumbai laboratories had delivered swab reports related to coronavirus cases as late as 18 days.

Chahal, a senior IAS officer, took over as commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) a month ago.

Speaking to an English news channel, Chahal said, "When I joined as BMC commissioner, I found that (swab) reports of April 4 were delivered on April 22. Some labs were committing serious crime by submitting reports 18 days later. They deserved to be punished for late reporting."

The civic chief said he told such labs that inordinate delay in submitting reports of samples taken for coronavirus was not acceptable.

"I told them clearly that if you could not give me swab reports in 24 hours, you can not function here in Mumbai. I can not accept your reports after 15-16 days, Chahal said while responding to a question. "You don't chew more than you digest," he added.

"I could test around 3,600 (per day) in Mumbai after testing guidelines were issued by the ICMR. Due to the guidelines of carrying out tests of only symptomatic patients, the total figure of testing came down, he said.

Chahal said the civic body is going beyond the testing norms issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

"We have 2,500 hospitals in Mumbai. Every hospital now has been authorities to go ahead with testing. We even allowed people to let their swabs collected from their homes, which is outside the guidelines of the ICMR, the commissioner added.

As on June 8, Mumbai has reported 49,863 COVID-19 cases, including 1,700 deaths.