February 17, 2021 4:50:28 am
MOVING TO ensure the authenticity of crucial data that it compiles to chart the state’s Covid graph, Bihar’s Health Department has asked all civil surgeons in charge of districts to ensure that those who get tested in facilities under their jurisdiction produce a valid ID, senior officials told The Indian Express.
The move comes after an investigation by The Indian Express found several gaps in Covid testing data compiled by Primary Health Centres and other facilities in at least four districts, including alleged large-scale fudging of contact details essential for tracing the entries.
“The department has been seriously considering the linking of Covid vaccination to Aadhaar and had already raised this with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, but a final call is yet to be taken. But for now, a valid ID card has been made mandatory for Covid testing,” a senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
Officials also said that with the government doing away with testing targets last week, following the findings of the investigation that data was allegedly fudged at PHCs to meet those numbers, testing has come down drastically.
Official figures show that the state tested 76,878 samples on January 9, and 62,539 on February 12. On February 13, after The Indian Express first reported on the loopholes, the number had dipped to 47,282. A day later, it had fallen to 30,940. “There is no pressure of a target now, and the civil surgeon has directed us strictly to ask for a valid ID card for testing,” said a PHC staffer in Bhagalpur.
“You have to take Aadhaar card or PAN card or Voter ID or any other relevant identity proof at the time of taking samples,” states an unofficial advisory issued by senior officials. “This is urgent. Also do testing on demand only. Must be followed in all cases from now onwards. Be careful.”
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