Chandigarh behind 18 states, UTs in testing

‘Tests per million’ analysis Officials attribute it to low spread of Covid-19

Chandigarh behind 18 states, UTs in testing

Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29

The city is behind at least 18 states and union territories in testing samples for Covid-19, reveals the “Tests per million” analysis of states/UTs.

At a time when even states and UTs like Goa and Ladakh have tested more than 40,000 samples per million population, the UT has conducted only 6,323 tests per million population so far.

‘Admn dodging ICMR guidelines’

Medical experts feel that the guidelines of the ICMR are being "dodged" by the UT Administration. An expert from the PGI’s School of Community Medicine said, “The ICMR also asks states to test influenza-like illness (ILI) cases coming to hospitals. One of the reasons could be that hospitals are not testing ILI patients. Besides, in order to check the extent of community infection, more pregnant women should be tested as they represent community.”

UT health officials claim that the low testing is due to "less spread of Covid in the city". Arun Gupta, Health Secretary, UT, said, “One reason behind low testing as compared to other states could be less spread of the disease in Chandigarh and hence lesser number of people requiring testing as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) criteria.”

  • Tests per million: It means for every 1 million people in a state, how many people were tested
  • Population is based on the 2019 projection by the National Commission on Population

However, medical experts feel that the guidelines of the ICMR are being "dodged" by the UT Administration. An expert from the PGI’s School of Community Medicine said, “The ICMR also asks states to test influenza-like illness (ILI) cases coming to hospitals. One of the reasons could be that hospitals are not testing ILI patients. Besides, in order to check the extent of community infection, more pregnant women should be tested as they represent community.”

“Active surveillance of high-risk population is also important in the city. Augmented testing will lead to more cases and the Administration, it seems, is avoiding it,” said a doctor from the PGI.”

There are no specific areas like containment zones or hotspots in Chandigarh where all symptomatic ILI cases can be tested as per the ICMR criteria.

Earlier, an active search of cases in Bapu Dham Colony by the UT Administration resulted in 250 positive cases from the area. However, from June 19 to June 27, only 21 samples have been taken from the colony.

In the UT, the testing has dipped by 18 per cent from last month. This has resulted in less number of cases being reported in June as compared to May.

Sero Antigen Rapid Test

In a fresh advisory to states, the ICMR has emphasised on 3Ts -- Test, Track and Treat -- to control the spread of Covid-19. In order to ramp up testing, the UT Administrator on Monday declared that the UT would start the Sero Antigen Rapid Test after the PGI starts the validation of kits received from the ICMR.

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