September 30, 2021 11:59:12 pm
Thirty-two students of a private school in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district were isolated in a government centre after testing positive for Covid-19 in a Health Department drive—but were found to be completely normal after an RT-PCR test was conducted the very next day on Monday.
As the test reports came in Thursday, the Union Territory Administration suspended Dr Shabab Ahmed, a dental surgeon who had been made the nodal officer for Covid-19 in Thanamandi area. Ahmed said he was not present when the RAT tests were carried out by a field team comprising two lab technicians, an x-ray technician and a pharmacist on September 27.
A statement issued by the Rajouri Deputy Commissioner R K Shavan cited “lackadaisical approach and dereliction of duty.”
The statement said that instructions had been issued for “aggressive testing of students and staff all over the district”.
“During testing on September 27 at one of the private school in Thanamandi zone under the supervision of Dr Shabab Ahmed, 32 students were dected COVID-19 positive and as per SOPs, they were shifted to COVID Care Centre at Plangarh for isolation,” it stated. “Next day, RTPCR test of all those students was conducted wherein all have been reported negative.”
During the period of suspension, Dr Ahmed shall remain attached with the office of Additional Deputy Commissioner, Koteranka, the statement said.
Shavan also directed the Darhal Block Medical Officer to explain her position on the lapse by the Health Department within three days.
Schools for class 10 and 12 students were reopened in Rajouri on September 27. The Education Department had ordered closure of the institution in question from September 28 to October 2.
Dr Ahmed said the team, during the first 15 minutes of the testing, informed him over the phone that the RAT slides showed no symptom.
He said they rang him up again after another 15 minutes, informing him that the RAT slides show 32 of the total 64 students are Covid-positive.
The doctor claimed his only fault was reporting the incident to his seniors as per the protocol.
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