While the testing capacity of Amritsar’s government Covid-19 testing lab has gone up to 3,000 samples per day, the district is still struggling to convince people to come forward for random sampling leading to low testing, district authorities admitted Tuesday.
Punjab Cabinet Minister for Medical Research and Education O P Sony Tuesday inaugurated a state-of-the-art Covid-19 testing lab at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital Amritsar that will allow around 3,000 samples to be tested daily.
Previously, according to the minister, only 400 samples were being tested at lab which was catering eight districts. Cabinet Minister Soni said that earlier he had inaugurated a new lab at Medical College Faridkot and on Wednesday, he would also inaugurate a new lab at Patiala Medical College for testing of corona patients.
He said that with the setting up of these labs, the daily testing capacity in the state would reach 9,000. “One lab would have 3000 tests and the combined capacity of the three labs would now be 9,000. Now Punjab would become the leading state in the country in terms of testing for coronovirus,” he said.
The minister added: “At present around 1,200 samples were collected at Amritsar Medical College daily for testing and all these samples can be now tested within 24 hours.”
The capacity of the lab has been increased, however, Amritsar health authorities have been collecting 200 samples per day on an average. Meanwhile, on Tuesday the administration claimed to have collected 770 samples in one day.
An ASHA worker said, “It is very difficult to convince public for random sampling. There are many rumours in villages. Each ASHA worker in state is given target to survey 25 homes in a week and find persons with less immunity and send them for testing. People have seen some videos of poor quality food at quarantine centers. They are afraid that they may be forced to live in those centers in case they test positive. Also there is a rumour that government is claiming Rs three lakh per patient from central government and hence negative patients are also given positive test report to claim that money. Such rumours are the reasons that people are not coming forward to give their samples.”
Municipal Corporation Amritsar Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu said: “Low testing is problem in Amritsar and we have decided to cover the city for testing. We will float a tender to involve private players for testing. We will conduct 25,000 tests on our own in city.”
However, Amritsar DC Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon had no information about it.
“MCA would be in better position to comment on it,” said DC, when asked about Mayor’s plan.
He, however, admitted that there were some issues on ground regarding collection of samples.
“There are some issues in collecting samples and we have been convincing people. It would not be a big problem. Now capacity of lab has also increased and we will also increase the sample collection,” said the DC.
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