New Delhi: The Delhi government is preparing to scale up COVID-19 testing through its network of 300 dispensaries and hospitals and begin aggressive contact tracing of coronavirus patients in order to keep the rising number of infections in check, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday. Also Read - PM Modi Likely to Hold COVID-19 Review Meeting With Chief Ministers of 7 Worst-hit States Next Week

The health minister said that the Kejriwal-led AAP government is committed to doubling the COVID-19 test from the present 20,000 per day to 40,000 per day within a week in the national capital. Also Read - Kidambi Srikanth's Request to Take Coach And Physio For Denmark Open Approved

Notably, after nearly a month of steady decline, the coronavirus cases in Delhi has started climbing above 1,000 on a daily basis. Also Read - India Corona Vaccine Update: Phase-3 Clinical Trials of Oxford's 'Covishield' Vaccine to Begin on Monday | Read Here

Jain said that the recent surge in Delhi was due to various reasons, including COVID-19 patients from outside seeking treatment here, return of migrants who left Delhi during lockdown as well as increased testing resulting in more confirmed cases.

Delhi has the highest rate of per million testings in the country, he said.

“People can have free COVID-19 tests at the dispensaries whose time has been extended to five hours from 9 AM to 2 PM. Even if dispensaries conduct on average 100 tests and hospitals 200 tests per day, the target of scaling up testing to daily 40,000 from the currently around 20,000, will be met,” he said.

He also noted that the government will also create awareness about this move so that testing in containment zones and districts go side by side.

“Presently, out of 3,700 corona patients in Delhi government hospitals, around 30 per cent patients are from other states. Also, the number of tests were lower as people stayed home during the recent festivals. Now tests have increased and so has the number of positive cases,” he said.

The development comes a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a press briefing that COVID-19 tests will be doubled in view of the “marginal” increase in coronavirus cases in the city.

Jain said the government has the availability of adequate number of kits to double the testing to 40,000 per day.

“The asymptomatic cases are tested through the rapid antigen test which takes around 30 minutes. There can not be a fixed ratio of rapid tests and RTPCR test which is employed for symptomatic patients,” he said.

Delhi government is prepared to deal with a situation if the number of containment zones increases due to doubling of the testing, he said.

The minister said the hospitals have been directed to refer need of oxygen concentrators in case of discharged COVID-19 patients, and the government will provide it to those facing breathing issue or low oxygen level.

With PTI inputs