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Several Delhi labs under scanner for delaying COVID-19 test results

Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said that labs conducting tests for the government had been directed to submit testing results within 48 hours or be liable to face punitive action.

Published: 09th May 2020 09:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th May 2020 09:08 AM   |  A+A-

A health worker screens an passenger who arrived from Singapore at the Indira Gandhi international airport T3 during the nationwide lockdown. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government may issue a notice to laboratories carrying out coronavirus tests over huge delay in delivery of test reports. According to the health department officials, there are at least six testing facilities, which are taking too much time to submit test results.Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said that labs conducting tests for the government had been directed to submit testing results within 48 hours or be liable to face punitive action.

“If we get test reports in 15 or 20 days it does not make any sense. Those testing results don’t have sanctity. Therefore, we have issued the order; laboratories will have to submit a report within 24 hours otherwise they can’t take samples,” said the minister while responding to queries regarding the delay in test report delivery.

Citing delay in receiving COVID-19 test reports as one of the reasons for spiralling positives cases in the national capital, the government last month informed the union health ministry that surveillance in containment zones had become difficult because of the hold-up.

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“We are in the process of issuing notice to five-six labs delaying the COVID 19 reports. Notices may be issued in a couple of days,” said a health department official.There are 17 labs –government and private facilities in the city including National Institute of Biologicals in Noida-- which were authorised to conduct COVID-19 testing for the government.

Till Friday 81,367 tests have been conducted. Officials said that results of around 8,000 tests are still pending.While hearing PIL earlier this week, the Delhi High Court has also asked the government to ensure swift testing of coronavirus and declaration of results within 48 hours.

During the hearing, the government informed the court that it had decided not to send samples to NIB where the testing process was slow hence causing a rise in pendency.Cautioning labs, Jain said that they should think whether they are capable to perform tests before collecting samples.



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