Noida/Ghaziabad: Eleven people entering Noida and Ghaziabad from Delhi were found positive during random testing for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) by officials from the two cities on Wednesday.

Even though the Gautam Budh Nagar district administration had announced on Tuesday that commuters from Delhi will be randomly tested at roads and Metro stations connecting Noida and Delhi, Ghaziabad officials launched testing as part of a new strategy to curb the surge in Covid cases post festive season.

Of the total 11 — three tested positive on their way to Noida. Eighty-one tests were conducted at the DND Flyway where one person tested positive, while two out of 84 tests returned positive at the border on the Link Road. In Ghaziabad, 72 people were tested near the UP Gate of whom eight were found positive. All tests were conducted using the less reliable rapid antigen method.

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A team of three lab technicians each had been deployed at DND Flyway and Noida link road.

Dr Deepak Ohri, chief medical officer, Gautam Budh Nagar, said, “If those who test positive are Noida residents, they will be sent to the hospital or home isolation depending on the symptoms. The rapid antigen test results come out in 4-5 minutes, so there is no hassle for commuters.”

Ohri said that the health department was told to not pressure commuters into being tested. “If they are not willing, we will not force them and let them go,” he said. He added that the exercise will go on for a few more days and did not commit to an end date.

District Magistrate Suhas LY said this is being done in order to assess spread of infection and would help in issuing advisories to employers and organisations, where large number of people work and commute between Noida and adjacent areas.

Ganesh Saha, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Noida, said traffic was not hit during the exercise.

Ghaziabad district magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said though they have not chosen particular border points but teams were being deployed in areas where most commuters come from Delhi. He said testing teams have been deployed in areas such as Indirapuram, Vaishali, Khoda and Loni, which are close to Delhi.

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“We are not focussing on testing at borders with Delhi at all. But our teams are already deployed in bordering areas and they have been asked to increase testing. The teams are deployed at places where we know of people who come from Delhi. So, our teams are testing them, as well as locals. Further, we have chalked out a comprehensive post festival strategy which will come into effect from November 21, a day after Chhath Puja ends,” Pandey said.

A health department official said of the eight who tested positive, four were travelling in a car. “We will adhere to Covid-19 protocols with regard to those residing in the city, while Delhi authorities will be informed about the status of their residents,” the official said.

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