Shillong: While the Meghalaya government has set up random testing centres at the busiest areas of Shillong — Khyndailad (Police Bazar) and Motphran — the concern was now whether the people would come forward and voluntarily test themselves for COVID-19.
EastMojo on Wednesday visited both the testing centres and noticed that there was a good strength of people in queues wanting to test themselves for COVID-19.
The tests were done through rapid antigen test which gives instant results if a person is tested positive or negative for the virus.
Radha Dey, an employee at Abhinandan Apparels in Police Bazar and a resident of Rynjah, lauded the state government for such an initiative.
“It is very good for the public and it is for our safety and that is why all the staff from Abhinandan have come to get ourselves tested. This also helps to clear the suspicion if one has the virus or not,” said Dey.
She added that her results were negative and that it was a very fast procedure which took about 10 minutes. Dey also informed that it was free of cost with not a single penny to shell out and urged other people to get themselves tested.
The government had recently informed that 71 clusters across the state have been identified to carry out aggressive random testing.
Sanjay Tiwari, a resident of Barapathar, who had voluntarily come to get himself tested at Motphran testing centre, said, “The government has done its job; now it is upon the people. People should come forward and voluntarily get themselves tested.”
When asked if he fears that his test may come out positive, Tiwari said that the question of fear should not arise. “It’s well and good if the virus is detected. There are preparations already made and if tested negative, one can go home and sleep in peace. This is a virus that one can recover, so one should not fear,” said Tiwari.
Among the other people in the queue was Samuel Marbaniang who seemed to be patiently waiting for his turn to test at the Motphran testing centre.
Marbaniang, who works at Iewduh, said that the step taken by the government is a good one since people can just leave their work for a few minutes and go there to test. “My work involves myself being exposed to meeting new people every day. And right now, with the increase of cases, you can’t predict. I also go back home and put the little children and elderly people at risk. So I felt this as my responsibility to come and get myself tested. If I test negative, I know that my close ones are not at risk anymore,” said Marbaniang.
While busy manning the people standing in the queue at Khyndailad, Devendra Singhania, secretary of Police Bazar Welfare Society, said: “Yesterday was Day 1 for the rapid antigen test for COVID-19, and we completed 218 cases, out of which all were negative. Today, so far, approximately 173 cases have been tested and out of this 3 to 4 have tested positive.”
When asked how the response was and if people were coming forward, Singhania said, “Yes people have been coming forward voluntarily and we are also insisting all the people from our locality to come and get themselves tested. This will help us collectively fight against this pandemic COVID-19. People from other localities are voluntarily coming to Police Bazar to get themselves tested.”
Concerning declaration of results, Singhania said that after a person is tested they are made to wait for 5 minutes and if the person does not get any response from the health workers then it means that that the person is negative. Adding that if a person tests positive for COVID-19 after 5 minutes she will be informed by the team. He also informed that the contact numbers of the people are taken so that a report will be sent to the people even if they have tested negative.
Upon asking if he has got himself tested, Singhania said, “I was the first person to get myself tested. Being the secretary of the locality it is my moral duty to get myself tested first; then only the people of the locality will be confident that when our leader has tested and declared negative, so we should also voluntarily get ourselves tested.”
Rohit Bajoria, youth representative member of Police Bazar COVID Management Committee, said that the task has been hectic but it was also a good feeling since it was for a good cause and that was helping to fight COVID-19.
Bajoria added that people have been coming in large numbers. However they have been able to manage the crowd in avoiding any confusion during the screening.
Meanwhile, director of health and services Dr Aman Warr informed that till 3 pm of August 19, at Motphran, 148 people were tested out of which seven were tested positive for COVID-19.
At Khyndailad (Police Bazar), 165 people were tested out of which three were tested positive for COVID-19, he added.