LUCKNOW: Ramping up its sample testing to over 2600 on a daily basis, the Uttar Pradesh has commenced successful pool testing of samples with the first lot of 150 samples collected from the buffer zone of Agra hotspots.
A buffer zone is a five-kilometre radius around every hotspot created by local administration as part of the cluster containment plan.
Distributed in 30 pools of five each, the samples were tested at King Georges’ Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow. Much to the relief of the authorities grappling with the exponential spread of coronavirus in the Taj city, all the 150 samples tested negative on Thursday.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had approved pool testing, crucial to detecting and isolating positive cases. In UP, KGMU is the only institute eligible for pool testing.
A pooled testing method involves putting multiple swab samples in a test tube and testing them using a single RT-PCR test. If the entire pool of samples is negative, all people will be declared corona negative but if positive, all samples are tested separately. This strategy is believed to be more efficient in low-infection areas.
In another significant development, UP CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed the authorities concerned to enforce lockdown 2.0 strictly. He asked them to hold Station House Officers (SHOs) of police stations accountable if any new corona suspects go hiding in their areas. "Complacency would not be tolerated at any level of administration”, said the CM while meeting his Team 11 at his office here on Thursday.
According to Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Home, Awanish Awasthi, the CM issued directives to senior officers to prepare an action plan for foolproof compliance of the second phase of lockdown by April 20.
The CM even referred to the Moradabad incident of attack on the medical team and cops and reiterated his directives to take strict action against the culprits.
Meanwhile, 17 persons were arrested after being booked under the National Security Act, Sections of Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Act and IPC for attacking a team of healthcare workers and police personnel who had gone to a locality to pick the contact of a COVID-19 patient on Wednesday. The contact had been suffering from fever.
The ACS claimed that Pilibhit and Maharajganj were on their way to be COVID-19 free soon. He said six corona positive cases of Maharajganj had tested negative in their first report after 14-day isolation and treatment. “If the second report comes negative, it will be a big success for the authorities,” said Awasthi.
According to Principal Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad, the state count of corona positive cases had gone up to 773. After treatment, 69 out of 773 patients had recovered and sent home, while 13 had died due to the infliction. He added that 48 districts of the state were in the grip of the virus.
However, as per the sources, nine districts including Lucknow (79), Agra (179) and Noida (80) of Uttar Pradesh had joined the red zone defined by the central health authorities on the basis of the number of corona positive cases. The other six districts include Meerut (68), Ghaziabad (27), Saharanpur (53), Shamli
(21), Ferozabad (28) and Moradabad (18). Red zone comprises of districts which have been showing a rising trend of infliction graph.