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With sharp focus on vax, Telangana conducting fewer tests

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Hyderabad, Jan 22 (IANS) Shifting their focus to Covid vaccination, health authorities in Telangana are conducting fewer tests, leading to a further drop in daily count of positive cases.

The government and private laboratories in the state conducted 28,791 samples during the last 24 hours ending 8 p.m. Thursday. Of these 24,892 samples were tested in government laboratories and 3,899 in private facilities.

The state has a daily target of 50,000 tests but the authorities were conducting 40,000 to 45,000 tests, except on weekends and holidays when half of the targetted tests were conducted. Since the first week of this month, the daily tests dropped to around 30,000 as most of the officials in the health department were busy with vaccination.

Experts have warned against complacency at a time when there is drop in positivity rate. They say testing remains the key to check the virus spread.

In its daily media bulletin, the health department does not provide details like type of tests. It is believed that 50 per cent of the total tests are Rapid Antigen tests. As there are more false negatives in Rapid Antigen tests, experts say that the state is already missing out on positive cases.

There are 1,076 Rapid Antigen testing centres in the state. Twenty government and 56 laboratories are conducting RT PCR/CBNAAT/TRUENAT tests.

The state has so far conducted 76,02,975 tests. Samples tested per million population rose to 2,04,271.

Health officials said as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark of 140 tests per million population, the daily testing target for the state is 5,600.

The drop in number of tests means fewer cases being detected. Over the last couple of weeks, the daily count has dropped to 250-300.

Telangana High Court, during a hearing on a batch of public interest litigations on Thursday, remarked that the government must know that the more it tests, the more safe its public would be. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli pointed out that even in a city-state like Delhi, 40,000 tests are done per day.

The court directed the government to record the results of the tests for two weeks from January 25 and furnish it by the next date of hearing. It also asked the government to indicate number of tests, type of tests and turnaround time in conveying the result of the tests to people.

The court observed that with its constant directions and the government showing compliance the situation has improved here with number of cases coming down to below 500.

The high court directed the state government to furnish it with details of serosurveillance it had conducted in the last six months along with the aspects found in the survey and steps taken to contain Covid spread in the areas identified in the survey.

Meanwhile, during the last 24 hours, the state reported 214 new cases, taking the cumulative tally to 2,92,835. Two more persons succumbed to the virus, pushing the death toll to 1,586.

The period also saw 351 recoveries, taking the cumulative number to 2,87,468. The recovery rate improved further to 98.16 against the national average of 96.8 per cent.

The number of active cases dropped further to 3,781. Of them, 2,178 were in home or institutional isolation.

The cases in Greater Hyderabad dropped to 38. Karimnagar, Medchal Malkajgiri and Rangareddy districts reported 14 cases each. No cases were reported from four districts while in remaining 25 districts the daily count was less than 10.

–IANS

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