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Saturday, April 10, 2021

‘Went to ICMR with rapid test idea, it said India system is foolproof’

TN Chief Secy dismisses allegations of undertesting, says following guidelines

By: Express News Service | Chennai |
Updated: April 1, 2020 7:42:30 am
‘Went to ICMR with rapid test idea, it said India system is foolproof’ People queue up to buy vegetables in Chennai on Tuesday. (PTI)

THE TAMIL Nadu government had approached Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for permission to follow the ‘South Korea-China model’ of rapid tests, but ICMR said the real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based test being followed in India is more foolproof, state Chief Secretary K Shanmugam said.

Responding to allegations that Tamil Nadu had been reluctant to test an adequate number of samples for COVID-19, the Chief Secretary said the state is following guidelines laid down by the Centre.

Read | As US deaths cross 3,400, ICMR compares: coronavirus infection probability is low in India

He said the state did approach ICMR with suggestions to go for rapid tests like in South Korea. Elaborating ICMR’s reply against the idea, Shanmugam said the state was following the Centre’s guideline that insists on testing people with symptoms as the result will often be negative if people without symptoms are tested.

Out of the 2,354 samples tested in Tamil Nadu till Tuesday, 74 turned in positive and 1977 have tested negative — results of the remaining samples are pending.

Also Read | Why ICMR will not expand coronavirus tests: Not rational given India size

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami met Governor Banwarilal Purohit and briefed him about the state’s preparedness if there is a major spike in the number of cases. The meeting was also attended by the Chief Secretary, DGP J K Tripathy and Health Secretary Beela Rajesh.

After the meeting, the Chief Secretary said that apart from the supplies the state expects from the Centre, it has placed orders with various suppliers for about 1.5 crore masks. “We already have 7.2 lakh masks in our stock. No doctor or patient exposed to the hospital environment will have to face a shortage of masks. We have also ordered 25 lakh N95 masks from abroad… The state already has 3,018 ventilators and has ordered for 2,500 more. We have 17,000 isolation beds ready and 14 government-run and three private-owned labs to test samples for COVID-19 cases,” he said.

Read | Why selective testing and lockdown are more suitable for India than WHO’s ‘test, test, test’ doctrine

On Tuesday, DMK offered Kalaivanar Arangam near the party headquarters to Greater Chennai Corporation officials for use as a quarantine facility if there is a surge in the number of cases in the coming days.

Amid the lockdown, Chief Minister Palaniswami has issued an order for a three-month extension of the last date for payment of property tax, drinking water charges, renewal of driving licences and fitness certificate for vehicles.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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