COVID-19: Rapid test kits from China meant for Tamil Nadu diverted to US

A batch of 50,000 rapid test kits that Tamil Nadu had ordered from China, has been diverted to the United States, Chief Secretary K Shanmugam revealed on Saturday.

Published: 12th April 2020 05:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2020 11:04 AM   |  A+A-

Health workers busy taking nasal swabs through from people through a covid-19 sample collection kiosk that have been installed at Public Health Laboratory and Health Care Center at Pudupet in Chennai on Saturday. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick/EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: A batch of 50,000 rapid test kits that Tamil Nadu had ordered from China, has been diverted to the United States, Chief Secretary K Shanmugam revealed on Saturday.

As only a few Chinese companies are producing these test kits, there’s massive demand in the global market. The consignment that left for the US was actually supposed to reach Tamil Nadu on Thursday. 

Officials are hoping that at least the next consignment would make it to India. Public health experts say rapid test kids are crucial in testing large clusters.

“It is the second-best thing after PCR tests,” says infectious diseases expert T Jacob John.

“This is like additional proof, and that’s how it’s mainly used.”    

John, however, says IGG tests are as important as rapid ones.

“IGG would certify if the patient has become immune to the virus. This would help hospitals make easy decision on discharge. The most important thing is that IGG test kits arrive before the lockdown is lifted.”

Doctor Ram Gopalkrishnan of Apollo Hospitals says rapid tests are important for checks in hotspots. 

“There could be carriers who are asymptomatic, some with minimal symptoms. Blood test is the best way to identify these people. If kits are delayed, efforts to test them are also delayed,” says Gopalkrishnan.

This means that before the situation can get out of control, rapid testing kits have to be sourced for damage control.

The Chief Secretary, however, has assured that the State government's procurement team is efficient and will get the job done.

According to the health bulletin, 51,996 people are under active home quarantine while 165 are in government hospitals. 49,963 people have completed the quarantine period of 28 days.

Out of the 58 cases on Saturday, four had inter-state travel history while the rest were contacts of people already infected.

Stay up to date on all the latest Tamil Nadu news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • Australia

    Death to USA
    1 month ago reply
  • Pradip

    A case of American imperialism. Our leaders will not make a fuss as they are quite subservient to the Trump administration.
    1 month ago reply
  • Canadian

    Death to America
    1 month ago reply
  • Tondald Drump

    Right. Every human has a value. An indian is worth less than an american. Welcome to capitalism
    1 month ago reply
  • a.k.sehanobis

    A few days back
    1 month ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp