Mumbai will test people for COVID-19 randomly at crowded places without their consent, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said in an order today. The strict move to test people using the rapid antigen method comes amid Maharashtra, among other states, reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Rapid antigen testing (RAT) at crowded places like malls, railway stations (for inbound trains), bus depots, marketplaces, tourist places and government offices shall be done randomly. RAT will be carried out without the consent of citizens who are present at these crowded places,” the municipal body said in the order.
“If the citizen refuses to test, it would amount to an offence under the Epidemic Act, 1897. Hence, action shall be initiated against the offender,” the order said.
Rapid antigen test is seen as less reliable, but faster than the RT-PCR test for coronavirus. RAT detects the presence of viral proteins – antigens, the attributes of the virus – in a sample from the respiratory tract of a person. However, it is capable of giving more false negatives.