The government is preparing to cut down rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) after widespread criticism.
Spokesperson with the Health Ministry Dr Jageshwore Gautam said RDT tests will now be done only on those who have been quarantined for over two weeks. He reasoned that those who have stayed for over 14 days do not need PCR tests if new persons have not arrived in the intervening period. "There will be risk of infection only if new persons have been added."
But persons who have arrived at different periods are kept in the same quarantine facilities in the Far West. The local bodies have been keeping those returning from India in schools citing lack of space. Many of them are being sent home after RDT tests meaning even those with active infection, who may have been infected by newcomers toward the end of their stay, are going home without PCR test.
Experts had warned the government to not use RDT when it first procured kits pointing that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not recommended its use and at unreliability of the RDT. But the government focused more on RDTs than PCR.
The ministry guideline issued recently has made PCR testing more difficult stipulating that only those who show symptoms while in quarantine will be eligible. Pointing that a significant proportion of infected persons are asymptomatic but can still spread infection, the experts say that sending them home without PCR test takes the virus to their homes.
The government has also been forced to limit PCR tests due to lack of capacity of laboratories that have huge piles of swab yet to be tested.
Published Date: Friday, Jestha 30, 2077, 09:52:00