At a time when the number of Coronavirus cases have increased significantly, Bihar is still struggling with its testing.
COVID-19 testing: At a time when the number of Coronavirus cases have increased significantly, Bihar is still struggling with its testing. The number of Coronavirus tests being conducted in the state are limited as the availability of antigen testing kits is limited in the state. As a result, people are witnessing long queues and in some cases, are waiting for two-three days for testing, the IE said in a report. According to it, 38 districts in the state, other than Parna, have been given around 1,000 antigen kits to be used over multiple days. As there is a shortage of these kits, people have to wait three-four days in districts of West Champaran, Bhagalpur, Siwan, Muzaffarpur, Saran, East Champaran, Begusarai, Nalanda, Gaya, and Rohtas. It is to note that Patna too was going through a similar situation till it got additional 25 centres a few days back.
The report highlighted that these districts have reported between 1,000 and 2,000 cases. The test kits procured by the state round up to 2.8 lakh and if the tests are conducted as per Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (which is 20,000 tests in a day), the available test kits are likely to be exhausted soon. Currently, the state is testing 10,000 samples in a day and the state health minister Mangal Pandey has said that they would increase it further. Citing a district magistrate, the report said that 50,000 antigen test kits will have to be divided among 38 districts of Bihar, where in Patna will get a sizable share.
In Bhagalpur district, the report said, 2,000 antigen kits were received four days ago and there is no clarity as to when the next set of kits will arrive. Therefore, there are only 300 samples being tested in a day. So far, the report said, 4.3 lakh tests for the novel Coronavirus have been conducted.
Dr Ajay Kumar, senior vice-president of the Indian Medical Association’s Bihar chapter told The IE that antigen kits should be readily available and once they are, the state should focus on testing 50,000 samples in a day to screen out maximum Covid-19 suspects.
It is to note that Bihar is also doing RT-PCR tests. However, antigen tests provide results more quickly when compared to a test on swabbed nasal samples. Moreover, antigen tests are also cost effective.
Meanwhile in Bihar, 33,926 cases for COVID-19 have been confirmed so far where 11,363 are active. The state is working on providing more test kits for COVID-19 so other cases can also be identified and traced.