Despite gradually ramping up testing by setting up new laboratories in addition to three government medical colleges, Punjab has slipped two positions, from number 8 to number 10, in tests per million as compared to other states which figure in top ten positions.
As per the latest Daily Status Report (issued on September 8) on Punjab Covid-19 Response by state’s Governance Reforms Department, testing per million figure (as on September 7) of Punjab was 40,514 as compared to states like Gujarat (41,961) and Uttarakhand (40,906), which were far behind the state around two months ago.
Both the states surpassed Punjab on September 4, pushing it to tenth position from eighth position.
The national average as on September 7 as per the report was 37,602 tests per million. Delhi was at top with a figure of 90,173, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 80,117, Tamil Nadu (70,776), Kerala (53,953), Karnataka (51,419), Odisha (49,850) and Haryana (45,185),
Punjab has gradually ramped up testing and as per an official more than 20000 tests daily were being conducted which included both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests. As per Haryana government, it was conducting 51,954 tests per million as on September 7.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh last month had announced to further increase testing to 30,000 tests per day.
Statistics reveals that by July 8 (as per Punjab’s Daily Status report at that time), Punjab (with 11,917 tests per million at that time) was among the top five states after Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.
At that time, states like Haryana were lagging behind with (11,275 tests per million), Karnataka (11,215), Kerala (8,327), Odisha (7,179), Uttarakhand (6,920) and Gujarat (6,380). However, Haryana government’s July 8 figures said that it was conducting 13,117 tests per million as on that day.
Presently, except Rajasthan, all these states are ahead of Punjab in testing.
Punjab’s nodal officer for Covid-19 Dr Rajesh Bhaskar said, “Baseless and false propaganda was being spread by mischievous elements was deterring people from going for testing in the state.”
With spate of Covid deaths in the recent days, Punjab has a fatality rate of 2.9 per cent, equal to Maharashtra and Gujarat as the three states report highest fatality rate in the country. In about a week, the fatality rate came down from 3.1 per cent to 2.9 per cent for Maharashtra. On the other hand, in the corresponding period, it went up from 2.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent in Punjab.
Rumour mill hits testing drive
Despite ramping up testing, Punjab is grappling with opposition from people in various parts of the state, particularly in rural areas where they refuse to test amid rumours of organ trafficking during the pandemic.
Acting tough against rumour mongers, Punjab Police has got over 100 social media accounts blocked and registered 121 FIRs at various police stations. They had also had recently arrested a nambardaar of Jattpura village in Ludhiana for uploading fake and objectionable post about organ trade at Rajindra Hospital Patiala on Facebook.
State Health Department is also working to educate people about testing early to avoid complications at a later stage.
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