Telangana’s daily rate of 225 Covid-19 tests far behind Andhra’s 9,000
This figure came to light on Sunday night when the Telangana medical and health department officials disclosed the data analytics of testing as on May 16.Updated: May 18, 2020 17:30 IST
At a time when Andhra Pradesh has been conducting an average of 9,000 tests for Covid-19 every day, the number of samples being tested in the neighbouring Telugu state of Telangana has been abysmally low – an average of 225 samples a day.
This figure came to light on Sunday night when the Telangana medical and health department officials disclosed the data analytics of testing as on May 16 to explain the gender and age distribution among the positive cases for Covid-19.
According to G Srinivasa Rao, director of medical and health, Telangana government, the cumulative number of samples tested as on May 16 was 23,388. Out of that figure, 947 males tested positive and 14,256 tested negative, 566 females tested positive and 7,619 tested negative.
Among the positive cases including both male and female, 218 cases belong to the age group of 0-15 years, 434 are from the age group of 16-30 years, 406 are from age group of 31-45 years, 301 cases are from the age group of 46-60 and 151 cases are of above 60 years of age.
The last time the department released the figures of cumulative number of tests done in the state was on April 28, when Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender addressed a press conference and disclosed that 19,303 tests were conducted till that date.
Taking into account the latest figures of 23,388 samples tested, the total number of tests conducted between April 28 and May 16 was 4085 – an average of 226 cases per day.
Interestingly, a statement from the office of the health minister said the total number of tests conducted in the state as on May 14 was 22,842. It meant 546 tests were done in a span of 48 hours – an average of 273 per day, showing that the testing has slightly improved in the last three days.
The first Covid-19 cases was reported in Telangana on March 2 and it was only after March 15 that the government released figures about the number of samples tested – 22 samples on March 15 and the figure went up to 764 on March 24, when Tablighi Jamaat episode came to light. After that the Telangana government stopped releasing the data of samples tested for Covid-19.
The health minister has been refusing to divulge the data stating that the number of samples being tested was not a parameter for the spread of the virus, but the number of positive cases that were detected in the testing.
Till Sunday evening, Telangana had 1,551 Covid-19 cases 34 deaths. The number of active cases is 525 cases while the others have recovered.
“We do not want to do indiscriminate testing of people just for the sake of figures. We have been conducting tests as per the ICMR guidelines only on those having genuine symptoms and also with co-morbid conditions, apart from those who had been the primary contacts of the positive cases,” Rajender said.
He further said thought there are private labs that have got permission from ICMR to conduct the tests for Covid-19, the state government did not give the clearance because it would lead to these labs fleecing of people even if they had mild symptoms. “Each test costs around Rs 5,000 and we do not want the people to be fleeced,” he said.
In Andhra Pradesh, however, the testing of samples for Covid-19 has been stepped up in the last one month, after the state health department began using Trunat rapid testing kits, besides RT-PCR testing. The AP government has also imported two lakh rapid test kits from South Korea, which are also being used for random testing during a door-to-door survey.
According to state nodal officer for Covid-19 Arja Sreekanth, 2,48,711 samples have been tested as on Monday. Andhra Pradesh has reported 2,432 Covid-19 cases so far, including 150 migrant labourers. There have been 50 Covid-19 casualties.