Bhubaneswar: The ideal response when communicable disease outbreak starts is to begin testing for it early.
India on Friday reported 1007 positive cases and 23 deaths, taking the affected tally to 13,835 and toll to 452. Maharashtra with 3,205 cases and Delhi with 1,640 cases are the worst-affected states in the country.
Or, is it that the states which have done more tests have detected more cases?
Let’s begin with Odisha, which has reported no fresh positive case in the last three days. However, Bhubaneswar continues to be a cause of concern with 46 of total 60 cases confirmed from the city. On Friday, the Odisha government announced it would conduct 5000 tests in the city in seven days for quick identification of cases.
Only 1,958 samples from the state capital have been tested since February 4. While COVID-19 tests per million population in Odisha has been ramped up to 168 from 88 on April 12, it is mere 0.007 for Bhubaneswar.
However, the positivity rate in Bhubaneswar is 2.3 per cent vis-a-vis the state’s average of 0.79 per cent.
Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy on Friday said that around 38 per cent of the total samples tested in Odisha, were from Bhubaneswar. “Considering the fact that its positivity rate is higher than the state’s average, we have decided to test 5000 more samples in the next one week,” he said.
In contract, Delhi has tested 1,105 samples per million people and it also has the most cases (96.5) per million people. Jammu & Kashmir has the second most cases (31.4) per million having tested 568 samples per million, according to a report published by IndiaSpend.
West Bengal is on the other extreme. It has tested only 42 samples per million pollution and detected the lowest number of cases–2.8 per million.
However, Maharashtra with over 3000 positive cases is testing 506 per million population, which is less than both Delhi and J & K. Similarly, Kerala has tested 46 per cent more than Tamil Nadu but it has 12 cases per million population compared to 17.6 of the latter, the report said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research on April 16 had denied direct link between testing and detection of cases, stating that only one in 24 tests in India was coming out positive.
On an average, India is testing 224 people per million. It, however, has been stepped up significantly during Lockdown 2.0 after the Union Health Ministry identified 170 districts across states as hotspots.
On Thursday, more than 30,000 samples were tested in the country — the biggest number in a day. Now that 5 lakh rapid COVID-19 testing kits have arrived in India from China, the numbers are expected to go up significantly.
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