On Monday, the Tamil Nadu government asserted that the state has done 3.37 lakh tests so far, the highest number in the whole country. So far, as of May 19, 11,760 people have tested positive, of which 4,406 have been discharged following recovery.
Refuting DMK president MK Stalin's allegation that the Tamil Nadu government had reduced the volume of tests, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said, "An opinion that tests have come down is not acceptable and it is entirely wrong. In the whole of India, we are doing the highest number of tests. We make early diagnosis, treat people, facilitate their recovery and bring down the number of deaths."
"We have done the highest number of tests in India. So far 3,37,841 tests have been done in Tamil Nadu (from February 1), which is the highest. In Chennai city alone we have carried out 85,000 tests," he said. Stalin had alleged that the government had cut down the number of tests to 8,270 on May 16 as against 14,102 on May 7. On Monday 11,121 samples were tested in the state.
According to Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), as of 9.00 am on Monday, the country had tested 23,02,792 samples. As of Monday, Maharashtra has tested 2,82,194 samples and among southern states Andhra Pradesh has tested 2,48,711, Karnataka has tested 1,51,663, and Kerala has tested 51,059 samples. As of May 14, Telangana had conducted 22,842 tests.
Adding Tamil Nadu's best practices to tackle COVID-19 were even lauded by a Central team Vijayabaskar said that no particular number is pre-determined by the government for carrying out testing for any given day and that it was not possible to do so. On an average, for the past ten days, 12,536 tests were being done every day, he said and added that it must not be assumed that tests have come down by merely looking at some variance in the number of tests for specific days.
He further stated that all RT-PCR tests were barcoded and no single test can be underplayed. Moreover, the testing data was being uploaded real time in Central government portals. "Remarks that tests have come down in Tamil Nadu are both not true and anguishing and in the name of criticism, levelling accusation is not acceptable," he said.
"No one is left out of testing and the exercise is being done asper Central government guidelines. The new challenge is the arrival of people from other states," he said. Clusters like the Koyambedu market and another related to a conference in Delhi were managed well by aggressive testing, he poined out. "Also, now we have 61 testing facilities, of which 39 are in government hospitals and 22 in private centres and there is no scope for reducing tests intentionally," he said, adding such a big testing capacity was a "huge achievement."
Tests were being done as per protocol and several factors like the number of people arriving from foreign countries, other states or districts, testing of contacts and those with severe acute respiratory infection and influenza like illness together make up the aggregate number of tests daily, he said and indicated that there may some variance.
The State-run King's Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research here was the second facility to undertake tests in the country after the National Institute of Virology in Pune, he claimed.
(With inputs from PTI)