Centre asks Maha govt to boost COVID testing as surveillance drops significantly

Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Maharashtra have reduced significantly and the state government had announced relaxations considering the same, however, the report released from the health ministry reveals that the weekly testing in Maharashtra has also reduced. Keeping this in mind, a letter was sent by the Union health secretary wrote, on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, asking the government to take necessary measures and boost the surveillance. 

It is being said that the testing had reduced in the state due to low infection rate. Besides Maharashtra, 12 other states were also informed about the same and the letters highlighted that the testing is necessary as COVID cases have been on a rise in other countries despite the vaccines being administered. A report regarding the same was published in the Indian Express, which quoted Rajesh Bhushan, who said, “In the absence of a sustained level of sufficient testing, it is very difficult to determine the true level of infection spread in geography…(sic). Hence, all efforts must be implemented to preserve the gains made so far and to prevent deterioration of Covid-19 scenario across the country.”

As per reports, Maharashtra, on November 22, had conducted just over 97,000 tests on an average, in comparison to over 2.68 lakh average reported in mid-May 2021. Daily testing has reduced in over 25 districts including Pune, Mumbai and Thane, however, officials increased the testing in other 11 districts including Nagpur, Raigad among others. Nine districts were marked with concern as average tests per million is below the guideline and the figures suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Authorities have informed that the standard testing is being done for those who have come in close contact to the patients. Besides this, testing is being done in areas with heavy population like railway stations, bus stations, etc. Experts informed that the tests are being conducted regularly at marked hotspots, however, only few cases are detected positive on a daily basis, which over the last few days, has been nil. Constant measures are being taken to control the spread, and officials are making a note of the spike if any.

Authorities from the health department of the state government has however said that comparing the testing results today with that of May 2021 is not acceptable as scenario is different. However, all districts have been informed about the same.

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