In the nation’s capital Islamabad, citizens worry that if they test positive for COVID-19, the government will “pick them up” and take them to some unspecified location. Hence, the efforts of the National Institute of Health to expedite coronavirus testing and make it free in the capital might not bear fruit.
Free tests were conducted in the four union councils of G-6 and G-7, with approximately 400 samples collected. The samples were collected randomly, and results will be out in a week. The authorities plans on continuing this random sampling for at least a month.
Deputy Mayor Syed Zeeshan Naqvi stated that people were not willing to get tested – even if it was free of cost.
“People should benefit from the exercise. Today, the NIH teams could not meet their target. If they wanted to test 100 people, only 80 were found willing to give samples,” he said, reaffirming that the local government had been trying to increase awareness regarding the pandemic and getting tested.
“The response of the residents towards getting themselves tested is not encouraging. Even in my UC of Shah Allah Ditta and Golra, despite our hectic efforts around 600 people gave samples for tests. And today, in the thickly-populated four union councils of G-6 and G-7, only 400 people gave samples,” he added.
He cited the main reason for people being unwilling to get themselves tested as this wrongly placed belief that the government would pick them up if they tested positive for Covid-19. As of now, Islamabad has over 600 houses that have been declared quarantine centers, due to one or more family member having tested positive for covid-19. No persons except health officials are allowed to enter or leave the houses. As such, people might have misunderstood the quarantine policies of the local government, since no one has been taken to another location as of yet.