Getting a test done is becoming difficult, and once done it may not be trustworthy
Praggya Guptaa | April 20, 2021 | Noida/New Delhi
At a time when the country is fighting the virulent second wave of Covid-19 with daily cases upwards of 2,50,000, testing is of critical importance, but government-run labs are not only delaying reports, in one case there was a goof-up and a negative report turned to positive within a day.
Alok Yadav, a 38-year-old resident of Ghaziabad, had cold and cough, so he went to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences, Greater Noida, to give his sample for an RT-PCR test on April 12. He received his report three days later, on April 15, which came out to be negative. Heaving a sigh of relief, Alok resumed his normal activities including going to office. The next day, however, he received a call from Lucknow to check on his symptoms and then he found he was positive. In shock, Alok checked his online report again and found the status had changed from ‘negative’ to ‘positive’.
The country is facing a big fiasco in the name of health infrastructure. Big private labs like Lal Path, SRL Diagnostics and Saral Labs are refusing more testing, citing overload, and are not being able to deliver test results. Queues at hospitals are getting longer with more than 200 people standing in line, where following social-distancing norms are next to impossible.
“I have a fever for five days and have tried to get my test done through a home-collection service. Most of the leading labs have refused the test. I tried to book online but slots are not available. I visited the Kailash Hospital in Noida where around 200 people were in the line. I found it too risky for myself and in fact for others; so I came back. I booked the test online but nobody turned up to collect the sample. Today, I managed to get my sample collected through a lab that has a tie-up with the Government Institute of Medical Sciences, Greater Noida. But seeing the blunders done by them I am not sure if the report which is yet to come is trustworthy, says Pranjal, a resident of Greater Noida.
Taking the advantage of this panic situation, touts are charging people more money to expedite the reports and even get the test done the same day or the next day.
While cases are increasing exponentially, people are struggling with symptoms and the delay in testing will worsen the Covid condition in Uttar Pradesh. When major cities in the state are already facing a shortage of hospital beds, medicines and oxygen, can the government labs afford to make such a blunder and put people at more risk? Considering the risk, Government must increase the home collection and form a committee to monitor testing in the state.
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