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With 4 new labs, Punjab aims to conduct 20,000 Covid tests per day by August-end

According to Department of Research and Medical Education Secretary D K Tiwari, the three government medical colleges in the state -- located in Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot -- currently have a testing capacity of 5,000 samples daily.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
August 20, 2020 10:25:02 pm
A total of 19,772 cases were recorded in the month of October. The first time the daily case count in Punjab had crossed the 3,000-mark was on March 26 when 3,176 fresh cases were reported. (File photo)

AUGUST-END IS the latest deadline in Punjab to conduct daily testing of 20,000 samples for Covid-19. In the last week of June, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had announced that by June-end, daily testing would reach 20,000 daily. But, that has not yet happened.

Now, as the Punjab government has set up four new testing laboratories, government functionaries say that by the end of August, 20,000 Covid tests will be conducted daily in the state as capacity in the four laboratories will be ramped up.

According to Department of Research and Medical Education Secretary D K Tiwari, the three government medical colleges in the state — located in Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot — currently have a testing capacity of 5,000 samples daily.

Tiwari said the four new laboratories set up at the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL) Jalandhar, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, Punjab Biotechnology Incubator, Mohali, and Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory, Mohali, would ramp up testing to 1,000 each daily by the end of August.

“Testing at government medical colleges will also be ramped to 5300 a day by the month-end. In addition, the Punjab Health and Family Welfare Department has placed fresh orders for rapid antigen testing and plan to do 10,000 such tests in a day. This is in addition to the RTPCR testing done at government medical colleges and four new laboratories. So, the overall testing would touch nearly 30,000 by August end,” said Tiwari.

Tiwari said the four new laboratories initially started with testing 100 samples and then gradually enhanced the capacity to 250 samples, which would be further enhanced to test 1,000 samples daily.

“As of today, the three medical colleges and the four new laboratories are conducting more than 15,000 tests daily,” said Tiwari.
“Till a week ago, the testing capacity was around 13,000 a day. We are increasing it gradually,” he added.

Lagging behind in tests per million

Even as Punjab is gradually enhancing its testing capacity, in tests per million, the state continues to lag behind neighbouring Haryana and seven other States. As of August 18, as per the Covid-19 status report, Punjab had conducted 26,537 tests per million as compared to 26,566 by Maharashtra, 29,704 by Haryana, 32,336 by Karnatka, 35,158 by Kerala, 50,603 by Tamil Nadu, 56,954 by Andhra Pradesh and 66,869 by Delhi.

As per the report, from April 10 to August 18, Punjab was placed at number 6 in terms of enhancing testing capacity by 375 times. West Bengal reported an increased in testing over the corresponding period to the tune of 659.8 times, followed by Tamil Nadu with 496.3 times, Andhra Pradesh (464.6 times), Uttar Pradesh (429.7 times) and Jharkhand (375.4 times).

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