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Focused on accuracy and testing those with symptoms, primary contacts: Rajender

Health Medical Pharma

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 

Rejecting charges by opposition

Congress and BJP that it was not doing enough COVID-19 tests, the Telangana government on Thursday said its emphasis has been on accuracy and screening primary contacts of positive cases or those with symptoms.

"Is it possible to conduct tests just like that,by collectingswab,though the concerned persons do not have any symptoms like cold... Can swab collection be done without infection, Health Minister E Rajender told reporters here.

The guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) state that if a positive case was found in a house, all members of the house need not be tested, he said.

Telangana, right from the beginning, we said no to rapid kit tests. Who is proved right? Secondly, we said we will not conduct tests just like that. We said we will not test unless there are symptoms or a person is a primary contact (of an infected person). We did that. Thats why, we find 6.1 to be positive out of 100 tests, he said.

BJP and the Congress have slammed the TRS government, accusing it of conducting less number of COVID-19 tests.

State BJP chief spokesperson K Krishna Saagar Rao has demanded resignation ofRajender for 'endangering' the entire population by "intentionally conducting the lowest" number of tests than any other states in the country.

According to data released by the state government on May 17, the cumulative number of samples tested as on May 16 was 23,388.

As on Wednesday, the number of positive cases in the state stood at 1,661 with 608 active cases.

Replying to a query, Rajender said the ICMR guidelines suggest tests can be conducted on senior citizens and those suffering from other illnesses. Those not not having symptoms should be put in isolation, he said.

Tests need not be conducted for all secondary and tertiary contacts, but only if anyone is found with symptoms, he said.

Citing an example, he said the first positive case in the state had 89 contacts but only one or two of them were found to be positive. Such a fear had existed then but not now, the Minister said.

He referred to media reports that only 6.3 per cent of cases needed treatment at hospitals and ICU facilities.

The COVID-19 fatality rate in Telangana was 2.1 per cent while at the national level it was 3.5 and in the U.S it was six per cent, he claimed adding it depended on the virulence of the virus in a particular country.

Replying to another query, he said a NITI Aayog report says that testing should be accurate.

If tests are not conducted, wont thousands of cases come? Is there a possibility of hundreds dying? Does such a situation exist?, he said.

The number of virus-related deaths in the state stood at 40 and most of them were patients with comorbidities such as kidney and heart ailments and senior citizens, he said.

The Minister also said at least 30 deaths per day used to be reported at the state-run Gandhi hospital due to accidents, cancer and other disease before it was converted into a full- fledged COVID-19 facility.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 21 2020. 19:51 IST