Standard Testing 

There is steady increase in covid-19 infections as well as deaths as a consequence to it in Jammu and Kashmir.

While there have been right calls from the government for remaining vigilant and cautious, almost all activities are allowed while the number of tests, especially Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) are not being matched to the requisite number. This perhaps stands reason that the Lieutenant Governor, during district-wise assessment of Covid situation with Covid Task Force, DCs and SPs, called for increasing tests with 30 per cent RT-PCR testing.

The statement comes as the Centre raised concern over decline in weekly Covid-19 testing rates and to increase the same to avoid missing infections.

Also Chief Secretary and Chairperson, State Executive Committee, has time and again called for increasing the RT-PCR tests in the total mix, underlining that it should be scaled up on the best effort to 70% or more excluding the travelers.

The RT-PCR test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms.

According to ICMR, individuals with symptoms identified negative by rapid antigen testing should be linked with the RT-PCR test facility.

Those who test negative for COVID-19 by rapid antigen test are to be definitely tested sequentially by RT-PCR to rule out infection, whereas a positive test should be considered as a true positive and does not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test.

As has been rightly pointed out by the Lieutenant Governor and the SEC, there is a need to increase the test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and to achieve it all the concerned need to put act together

The authorities in J&K, especially health, should also ensure that the protocol is followed in all districts sans any leniency. Centre in its recent report imply that testing and tracing has been reduced and the same should be stepped up besides containment measures. It is clear that variants and virulence of the virus determine the severity of the disease. Precautionary measures are best called to repel any further outbreak of the disease.

The need for caution cannot be overemphasised.  On ground, the Covid protocols are observed in breach rather than compliance.  Efforts need to be stepped up to prevent any probable future surge, especially predicted 3rd wave.

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