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Covid-19 testing drops by 25%, Centre tells Maharashtra to ramp it up

Public health department data shows that between September 25 and October 24, a total of 39.44lakh tests were conducted in the state. But in the following month, from October 25 to November 24, it dropped to 29.50lakh.

Written by Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai |
Updated: November 26, 2021 1:40:33 am
Covid, Covid-19, Covid vaccine, Covid-19 testing, covid test, Mumbai news, Mumbai city news, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Maharashtra government, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India News"Around 17 districts in Maharashtra have a positivity rate below 0.5%," said Dr Archana Patil, director of health service. (Express/Amit Mehra)

Amid flattening of the pandemic curve, Covid testing in the state has dropped by almost 25.3% in the past 30 days compared to the previous one month.

Data collected from the public health department shows that between September 25 and October 24, a total of 39.44lakh tests were conducted in the state. But in the following month, from October 25 to November 24, the testing dropped to 29.50lakh. In fact, the testing in Mumbai with 2,525 active cases—the highest in the state — has dropped by 5% in the same period.

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the state government on Wednesday asking for an increase in tests and surveillance and increase the number of tests amid the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. In his letter, Bhushan stated it is a cause of concern that nine districts—Akola, Amravati, Buldhana, Dhule, Gondia, Hingoli, Nandurbar, Washim and Yavatmal are conducting average tests per million per day below the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended number of 140 for the week ending November 22.

Officials in these districts said that as the tally of active Covid-19 cases has dropped from 2.50lakh in May to 9,366 as recorded on November 25, the number of close contacts has declined, plunging their daily requirement of testing.

“Around 17 districts in Maharashtra have a positivity rate below 0.5%. There hasn’t been any surge in active Covid-19 cases which has limited the number of daily testing. But we have given the instructions to boost up the testing district-wise,” said Dr Archana Patil, director of health service.

Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner (BMC) said, “We have been testing the floating population in markets and stations but it isn’t enough to meet the target of testing done in May, when the pandemic was at its peak.” But the National Task Force said that this ‘casual attitude’ might prove dangerous for the state considering the international borders are opening up with the relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions. “With surge in Covid cases in Europe, the states need to be extra cautious. They can’t decrease the testing as the active cases are less. They need to keep testing vulnerable population like aged people above 50 years, especially those who are with comorbidities,” said Subhas Shalunke, member of the National Covid Task Force.

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