NEW DELHI: Amid the surging cases of COVID-19 in India, vast differences in testing rates across states are a major point of concern, an association of private hospitals has flagged.
Figures suggest that while overall more than 27 lakh diagnostic tests for COVID-19 have been conducted in the country so far, almost 85% of the tests are being done in containment areas.
Only four states — Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh — have done 2.5 to 3.5 lakh tests each.
While 12.62% of the samples tested in Maharashtra were positive, the figure in Andhra Pradesh was only 0.96%, as per an analysis by the association of healthcare providers of India.
Seven other states — Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha — have done tests in the range of 1-2 lakh.
Next to Maharashtra, Gujarat (7.85%), Delhi (7.24%) and Tamil Nadu (3.58%) had the highest percentage of samples tested turning out to be positive.
Karnataka, on the other hand, was at the other end of the spectrum, with just 0.88% of samples tested being found positive, the analysis found.
“This kind of vast difference is a point of concern and at the same time ground for learning. The reasons for such disparities are not so much related to medical aspects but are more related to the social and administrative side,” said an AHPI statement.
“These are issues which should be assessed and applied for correction not only at present locations but for emerging areas where migrant workers are likely to return or have returned,” it said.
Girdhar Gyani, director general of the AHPI, pointed out that there have been instances where people have joined in religious processions and social functions and it became a sensitive issue and interfered with the critical preparedness for managing COVID-19.
“The government needs to engage with community leaders and prominent citizens in a proactive manner and cite the seriousness of the pandemic by highlighting global data on mortality and morbidity related to COVID-19,” he said.