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Rapid antigen test results not credible, Centre shouldn't waste money on them: Rajasthan health minister

The minister said that the accuracy level of the tests kits, manufactured by a South Korean company, was 51 per cent.

Published: 21st August 2020 10:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2020 10:23 PM   |  A+A-

A technician counting the rapid tests done at an UPHC in Hyderabad on Friday. (Photo | RVK Rao/EPS)

By PTI

JAIPUR: Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma on Friday said that the Centre should not waste money on rapid antigen tests for coronavirus as their results are not credible.

He said that the state government had requested for these test kits from ICMR but it did not get them.

Therefore, 200 kits were taken from a private hospital and their testing was done to find out the accuracy of the results, the minister said.

Opening a debate on COVID-19 management and economic impact of lockdown in the state assembly which resumed a week after a trust vote was passed, the minister said that the accuracy level of the tests kits, manufactured by a South Korean company, was 51 per cent.

The Rajashtan Assembly on Friday witnessed uproar during the debate, leading to repeated adjournment of the proceedings.

"The antigen tests are being used in many cities, including Delhi. Although we did not get the antigen test kit from ICMR and managed tests from a private hospital, their results were not found credible. We have informed ICMR about it," Sharma said.

"Rajasthan has been a pioneer in the prevention of COVID-19. We have done about 20 lakh RT-PCR tests," he said, referring to the more reliable method which requires a longer waiting period.

The minister added that the rapid testing kits obtained earlier from China did not produce credible results, and the state government had informed the Centre about this.

He claimed there were similar problems with the accuracy of the kits bought later from South Korea and said the Centre should not "waste" money on them.

Highlighting the work done for strengthening medical infrastructure, the minister said that the state has developed a capacity of conducting 46,000 RT-PCR tests per day in 22 districts and there 286 dedicated coronavirus care centers have been set up.

The minister said that the death rate in coronavirus cases in the state is constantly decreasing and at present it is 1.38 per cent.

"We are doing excellent in other parameters too, including the recovery rate which is more than 76 per cent. Plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients has started in Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Kota, and Udaipur. Soon it will be started in Ajmer as well.

A total of 211 critical patients have been given plasma therapy and all of them have recovered," he said.

Meanwhile, the assembly was adjourned thrice due to an uproar over BJP MLA Kalicharan Saraf's comments regarding the arrangements for distribution of ration during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

After the health minister, Saraf spoke on the issue and targeted the state government over arrangements of food packets and distribution of ration during the lockdown.

The comments led to an uproar in the House and heated arguments. The house was adjourned for half an hour.

When the house reassembled, the uproar continued and the chairperson Rajendra Pareek adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

Immediately after the house reassembled, Pareek announced another adjournment till 2 pm. When the house reassembled, Speaker CP Joshi requested the members to hold a constructive debate instead of making personal comments.

The speaker expunged the comments which led to the uproar. Then the debate continued. The assembly session began on August 14 and a trust vote was passed by voice vote.

After a week-long gap, the session resumed on Friday during which the debate on COVID-19 management and impact of lockdown was held.



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