Stalin questions state over low volume of testing for COVID-19
Leader of Opposition MK Stalin on Thursday questioned the state government for alleged low volume of testing for COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu. Stalin also reiterated that the government should immediately make public the capacity of testing centers and actual tests done per center.
Alleging that Tamil Nadu was facing a great challenge now because of lack of extensive and fair amount of testing earlier, Stalin said the district-wise break up of testing was released once after repeated requests and stopped for reasons only known to them.
“The AIADMK regime is refusing to realise that the people were suffering double jeopardy owing to repeated lockdowns, which affects people’s livelihood and does not reduce virus spread. When will this government wake up and make constructive efforts based on accurate and realistic situation,” Stalin reasoned, urging the government to immediately make public the capacity of testing centers and actual number of tests done per center, besides contract tracing achieved in each district.
Taking exception to the state government’s claim that Tamil Nadu was doing most tests in the country, Stalin said that a comparison of the state population and testing figures suggests the state only tests 6,400 per million, which puts the state at fourth spot in terms of testing numbers.
“Going by the COVID statistics of Tamil Nadu for June, about 80 per cent of the positive cases were from places where 80 per cent of the tests were done. Therefore, the real magnitude of virus spread could be ascertained only by increasing the number of tests. One in every ten in Tamil Nadu has been tested in June. So, increasing tests would be the first step in controlling virus spread,” Stalin said, accusing the government with testing fewer than what was prescribed by the medical expert committee constituted by it.
While short supply of imported testing kits was cited as reason for low testing in the state, domestic testing kit manufacturers claimed that their produces were remaining idle despite them having a capacity to manufacture 14.60 crore kits per month, Stalin stated, wondered why the government has tested only over seven lakh samples when there is an opportunity to procure crores of kits domestically.
Charging the government with supplying only a few hundred kits to districts other than Chennai, the DMK president said that only people arriving by flights and trains are largely tested there. “Why has the state not procured a few lakh additional kits and dispatched them to testing centers there? Why is the government not increasing the testing statewide?” Stalin asked, attributing the prevailing situation in the state, especially Chennai to failure to conduct majority of the testing during the first lockdown itself.