Data defies Bihar CM’s claim of adequate COVID testing

While the number of cases went up nearly 20 times in a week’s time, testing recorded a less than 5% growth

A senior Bihar government official, who did not wish to be identified, said the government had not focused on ramping up testing till date. Pic: Twitter

Despite a significant rise in COVID cases in Bihar, testing hasn’t increased in the required proportion, show statistics.

A total of 174,739 tests were conducted on December 31, 2021 when 158 patients tested positive. On January 7, 2022, 184,750 tests were conducted with 3,048 patients testing positive for the novel coronavirus. So, while the number of cases went up nearly 20 times in a week, testing recorded a less than 5% growth, reported Down to Earth quoting data provided by the Bihar Health Department.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Health Minister Mangal Pandey stated a few days back that the state was conducting a large number of COVID tests.

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As on January 7, 2022, the number of active cases surged to 8,489 and the recovery rate went down to 97.2 per cent.

Dr Shakeel, the head of Bihar-based Centre for Health and Resource Management, told Down to Earth that looking at the phenomenal rise in cases the state health machinery should jack up testing to more than 200,000 every day. Dr Shakeel also said that most of the tests conducted currently are rapid antigen tests when the number of RT-PCR tests should be higher.

Also read: Covid cases in India and deaths per million one of lowest in world, Centre tells LS

A senior government official, who did not wish to be identified, told the media house that the government had not focused on ramping up testing till date.

Schools, colleges, coaching centres and hostels in Bihar have been closed till January 21. Physical classes for classes 9 to 12 will continue with a 50 per cent capacity, strictly following COVID protocols.

Government and private offices are allowed to function with half of its staff capacity.

Night curfew has already been announced in the state from 10 pm to 5 am till January 21.

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