As six municipal corporations go to polls in Rajasthan, the testing for coronavirus has decreased in the state, even though the number of persons testing positive in a day, on an average, has increased in October.
On Monday, Health Minister Raghu Sharma had said, “Till a few days ago the number of daily cases of corona patients was 2,200, which now has come down to 1,900 cases per day.”
He said that “although the number of infected patients has come down but looking at the winters, the numbers may increase in the month of November.”
As per the daily bulletin released on Monday evening, 1,960 samples tested positive for the virus. This was less than the figure for October 2, when 2,211 tests had tested positive. However, the difference in testing figures released for the two dates is over 2.5 times. While as many as 22,330 samples were tested on October 2, just 8,702 samples were tested on October 19.
At a review meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on September 26, Sharma had said that “the testing capacity in the state has increased to more than 51,000 tests per day.”
In reality, testing in Rajasthan peaked in September with an average of 26,806 tests per day. The state has been ramping up its testing facilities since the first cases in March, when Italian tourists had tested positive for the virus. However, October has so far seen daily testing drop to 20,032 per day.
Principal Secretary, Health, Akhil Arora said, “The testing isn’t decreasing. There are multiple ways of how we test. One is when we go for proactive testing through mandatory and random sampling. Second, people proactively come and get tested. Third is where repeat samples happen either because of admission in medical institutions, or because people actively get tested because they want to be declared negative early on.”
“Let’s say when we had 8,000 odd samples, there would naturally be a decrease in the total number of cases in the same proportion. But usually the labs test almost stable number of samples every day, irrespective of fieldwork. What you observe is against the laboratory work, not against the fieldwork,” he said.
He said that sometime there is “misinterpretation of data when some people say that data is not matching with their analysis it is because of the date of reporting vis-à-vis date of sampling.”
The decrease in average testing figures comes at a time when elections to six municipal corporations – Jaipur Heritage, Jaipur Greater, Jodhpur North, Jodhpur South, Kota North and Kota South – are underway. The voting to choose respective councillors for 560 wards will be followed by voting for mayoral posts on November 10.
The 35-day political crisis in the state had exposed factionalism within Congress and the BJP. Hence, much is riding on the municipal elections with the factions trying to assert their supremacy.
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