A war of words broke out between Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain over what the AAP government claims are “false positive” Covid test results from Centre-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, with Vardhan saying Jain should focus on improving healthcare facilities in Delhi instead of seeking “cheap publicity”.
Jain said Thursday that the hospital was delaying results and that when 30 tests conducted by it were retested a day later, it was found that 14 were either negative or inconclusive. Jain also said that the hospital was not giving test reports within 24 hours.
“Firstly, they are not giving reports on time. 70% Covid patients are dying within 24 hours of being hospitalised. This is because they had got tests done but reports were not available for five to seven days and they did not know they had Covid. Results must be declared within 24 hours,” he said.
He added that the percentage of false positive cases being declared by the hospital was high. “Recently, RML Hospital tested 94% samples as positive in a day. On retesting, we found 45% of these to be negative. I have spoken to the Union Minister and have asked them to either shut the lab or rectify things,” Jain said.
Vardhan hit back: “It is not right to politicise Covid instead of controlling it in Delhi. This will only weaken the country in its fight against the disease. Instead of making allegations against a reputed hospital like RML for cheap publicity, Satyendar Jain ji should fix healthcare facilities in the city.”
RML Hospital spokesperson Smriti Tiwari called the Delhi government’s allegations “false and baseless”.
Hospital sources claimed the initial delays were due to lack of testing kits, but the backlog has been cleared now. “We have a high positivity rate because our hospital is close to hotspots in Central Delhi,” said an official.
Delhi saw 1,319 fresh Covid cases in 24 hours, taking the total to 25,004. A total of 44 deaths, of which 22 occurred over the past 24 hours, were also reported.
There are 14,456 active cases in the city, of which 3,306 are hospitalised, 9,473 are in home quarantine, 1,164 are in Covid care and health centres and others are being assessed.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines