Notion of less testing behind high recoveries unfounded: Health Ministry

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NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday tried to allay the notion that less testing was the reason behind Covid recoveries exceeding the number daily infections as was seen in the last four days, with Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan terming the view as “absolutely without foundation”.

In the last four days, recoveries have exceeded new cases. The highest gap was seen on Tuesday when recoveries surpassed new cases by 25,000. Some experts have raised doubt that less testing is the reason behind this pattern.

“Such doubts are absolutely without any foundation. It cannot be said that the number of testing has come down, impacting the recovery figures,” Bhushan said while addressing a weekly press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

India had reported 93,337 new infections and 95,880 recoveries on September 19, 92,605 new cases and 94,612 recoveries on September 20, 86,961 new infections and 93,356 recoveries September 21, and 75,083 new infections and 101,468 recoveries on September 22.

Bhushan informed that India tested 8.81 lakh samples on September 19, 12 lakh on September 20 and 9.33 lakh on September 22. “We are testing enough samples and there is no doubt about that,” he added. However, he seemed to have deliberately missed the figures of September 21 when only 7.34 lakh tests were conducted, lowest in the month so far.

While Bhushan stressed that testing did not slump in the last four days, data show otherwise. The average tests done between September 10 and September 17 was around 11 lakh. The Health Ministry also said that it has increased testing infrastructure exponentially. “Till July 7, we had tested 1 crore samples and it took us 27 days after that to cobduct 2 crore more tests. By August 3, we had tested 3 crore samples. During this period, the number of laboratories was increased from 1,100 to 1,300,” Bhushan informed.

He also said that subsequently, the number of laboratories increased to 1,776 by September 17.

“We are currently functioning with 1,776 labs, including private ones. Resultantly, we took only nine days to add 1 crore tests to our tally,” he added.

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