Udupi, Aug 03, 2020: Udupi Deputy Commissioner G. Jagadisha has issued an order making it mandatory for people working at shopping malls, shops, hotels, online food delivery platforms etc. to undergo rapid antigen test for COVID-19.
Some have dubbed this move as controversial.
In his magisterial order issued under the Disaster Management Act and COVID-19 Regulations on Saturday, Mr. Jagadisha warned penal action against establishments for violation of the order.
Quoting a government order of June 1 and an order of DHO from June 30, the DC said the government had previously directed random tests for some sections of society on priority. Except a few, none of the establishments had rapid antigen testing conducted on their staff. The administration has set a target to conduct more COVID-19 tests, he said adding the direction for compulsory tests was in that regard.
He asked individuals to contact the taluk health officers to get their tests conducted.
Questioning the move
Bengaluru based entrepreneur B. Sreepathy Rao, who hails from the coastal region, termed the order controversial and said it aimed at reporting more positive cases.
He said the infrastructure available to conduct rapid antigen tests was limited and each test would take a considerable amount of time for completion.
“In Bengaluru, the administration has opened centres to enable people to get the tests done on a voluntary basis. Instead of opening such centres to enable voluntary testing, the DC has almost been threatening people, which is deplorable,” Mr Rao said.
To contain the spread
Udupi MLA K. Raghupathi Bhat told The Hindu that the administration had decided to test everyone in the district to prevent community spread of the disease. He was not aware of the order being issued, the MLA said adding more tests would only help the administration to prevent further spread of the disease.
Karkala MLA V. Sunil Kumar too said he had not seem the order, but added it was the responsibility of the government as well as individuals to contain the spread of COVID19.