DHSK expresses concern over less tests in Govt hospitals
By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: Director Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather on Thursday expressed serious concern over less RTPCR tests in Kashmir.
The Director ordered increase in the “gold standard” test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
A circular issued by the DHSK said, “While analysing the daily reports of Covid-19 work done of Kashmir Division, it has been observed that all the districts arc performing less number of RT-PCR tests than what has been stipulated by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India in the guidelines issued from time to time, which has been viewed seriously by the higher authorities.”
“As such, it is impressed upon all Chief Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents & Block Medical Officers of Kashmir Division to increase the number of RT-PCR tests in their respective districts,” the circular added.
A medico while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “After the second wave of COVID-19 has relented many people have started believing that the Covid is over. When the Covid second wave was at its peak, many people used to come forward to get themselves tested. Now, number of people coming forward to get tested has declined.”
He said, “Many people used to get their RTPCR tests done in private laboratories and hospitals, but after the government has slashed the test fee to Rs 400/ from Rs 1800/private hospitals and laboratories are not conducting that many tests.”
An observer said, “It seems that the government is preparing for the third wave and wants testing to continue at a good pace so that if the cases increase these come to notice early.”
It’s in place to mention here that the first case of deadly Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 was detected in Jammu on Wednesday.
“Detection of this variant amid threat of the possible third wave is a warning sign. The second wave took everyone by surprise as after the first wave had declined, people had started taking everything for granted. To keep a watch on the virus activity the government has to ramp up its testing,” said an official.
He said, “The administration doesn’t want to take any chances. If the testing rate has gone down it will be increased.”
An expert said, “The RTPCR is a reliable test as it detects the virus even if the load is low. The Rapid Action Test (RAT) is not that reliable. So the focus of the government should remain on the RTPCR test. The government should seek an explanation from the private laboratories for not conducting the RTPCR at the government approved rates.“