The Telangana government on Sunday released its testing data for COVID-19, over two weeks after it had stopped giving out the information amid criticism that it was not testing enough.
The Telangana government said that as of May 14, it had conducted 22,842 tests of which 1,388 or 6.1% of all tests returned positive. The state government said that it was getting a positive result for every 16 tests it was conducting.
The last time that the state government had released the testing data was on April 30, when it had tested 19,325 samples till that date, of which 1,037 people had tested positive.
Telanganaâ€™s testing is dismal when compared to its neighbours.
To put that in perspective, neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, which ramped up testing in the recent past, has tested 2,29,118 samples as of Sunday morning, while other neighbouring states like Karnataka and Maharashtra have tested 1,40,024 and 2,61,783 samples respectively. States like Tamil Nadu have tested a total of 3,26,720 samples as of May 17.
The latest data shows that in the first two weeks of May, the Telangana government had tested 3,517 samples, averaging at around 250 tests a day.
In comparison, Tamil Nadu tested 13,081 samples on Sunday alone, while Andhra Pradesh tested 9,880 samples between 9am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.
Data released by the Telangana Health Ministry
Over the last three days, the Karnataka government has been testing roughly between 5,000 to 7,000 samples each day, while the Kerala government is now testing over 1400 samples per day, besides the surveillance testing that is underway in the state. Kerala has done more than 45000 tests.
According to the latest data, as of May 14, Telangana was conducting around 652 tests per million population.This is much lower than the national average of around 1,600 tests per million population. In comparison, the Andhra Pradesh government is doing over 4,000 tests per million population, while Tamil Nadu has done 4529 tests per million.
The Telangana government has been pulled by the High Court and was also asked by the Centre about its low testing rates. It has also faced widespread criticism from activists and opposition parties for not revealing its testing data on a daily basis.
However, the government has repeatedly defended its move stating that it is following guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
While the Telangana government has been strict in implementing the lockdown and has been reluctant to ease relaxations, which it fears may lead to a spike in cases, experts say that increasing the number of tests per day is crucial, especially as the lockdown is being gradually lifted across India.