COVID-19: Telangana lags behind in RT-PCR tests

This is against the recent guidelines of the ministry which is increasing the RTPCR test ratio to 70 per cent.

Hyderabad: Amid the second wave of COVID-19 being witnessed across the country, the union health ministry and family welfare revealed that Telangana is among states which are not doing enough RT-PCR tests to track the infections.

The list of states includes Puducherry, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Jharkhand, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Bihar and Telangana — with Telangana accounting the lowest percentage of RT-PCR test of only 15.50.

This is against the recent guidelines of the ministry which is increasing the RTPCR test ratio to 70 per cent.

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Telangana conducts about 50,000-55,000 tests every day. RT-PCR tests can be less than 10,000 a day. Telangana lags behind Bihar, at 16.35 per cent RT-PCR tests.

However, Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao supported Telangana’s decision to use more Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) than RT-PCR.

“We have a testing capacity of up to 1 lakh per day with additional support from private facilities. Our focus is to use RAT kits as they give instant results and ensure that an infected person doesn’t mingle with others. RT-PCR is more suited for hospital settings as the results take 24 hours or more when the patient is admitted in hospital,” he said.

Speaking to the media on Saturday, health minister Eatala Rajender said that Telangana can conduct about 27,000 RTPCR tests in a single day, and most of them – about – 20,000 tests are done at private health facilities. 

He added, “The Chief Minister has issued directions to increase RT-PCR testing capacity in the State. It will be done soon. However, RAT will be our primary mode of virus detection. RT-PCR tests need more equipment, personnel and time. Enhancement of the RT-PCR capacity cannot take place overnight during a pandemic.”

Telangana on Wednesday recorded the single-day spike with 3,307 fresh infections with eight deaths. 

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