Delhi has got its first van to test for COVID-19, a move that will enable health officials to collect samples at doorsteps even in densely populated areas. The van is running in central Delhi areas and started collecting samples from Chandni Mahal, the second-biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the national capital.
The van has been modified in such a way that health officials sit behind a glass casing and collect swabs through gloves that protrude out from the casing.
The samples are then stored in ice boxes, which are later taken to testing labs. This arrangement ensures that those collecting samples are not directly exposed to people infected with COVID-19.
"We realised that we needed such vans for getting into narrow lanes and for mobility. Many of these containment zones are densely populated areas. We are also using these vans for creating awareness as it has a microphone and a loudspeaker," central Delhi district magistrate Nidhi Srivastava said.
"We keep issuing instructions about how to take precautions about health and hygiene. We have only one van now, but will keep adding in a few days," Ms Srivastava said.
Chandni Mahal is next to Nizamuddin and Tughlakabad in the sheer number of COVID-19 cases. Delhi has 79 containment zones.
Chandni Mahal was declared a hotspot last week after 52 members of the Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat out of 102 who went to 13 mosques in old Delhi's Chandni Mahal were found infected with the highly infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus.
Delhi has reported 2003 cases of COVID-19 and 45 deaths, according to the Health Ministry's website.
India has seen the biggest single-day spike in the number of coronavirus cases - 1,553 cases in the last 24 hours - which takes the total to 17,265, including 543 deaths, the Health Ministry data shows. Thirty-six deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.