PUDUCHERRY: A laboratory has been found giving doubtful RT-PCR negative certificate for COVID-19 to passengers travelling abroad. A Fillio Mano (name changed ) who is travelling to France got his RT-PCR test report (negative) within four and half hours of giving the swab at the laboratory in Puducherry and after the testing was done at a laboratory in Chennai, according to the report (TNIE has a copy).
The swab was taken at 12 p.m on June 3 and the report was given at 4.18 p.m on the same day. Considering the travel time of the sample from Puducherry to Chennai, the report raises doubts.
It takes a minimum of six hours after collection of the swab for processing and knowing the result, says Dr Rajesh, Assistant Professor, Forensic Medicine and PRO IGMCRI, a COVID hospital.
The incident could be the tip of the iceberg of a major scam of issuing COVID negative certificates to foreign travellers for a fat price by such unauthorised laboratories.
The Health Department has received a complaint in this regard, Dr L. Ravivarman, State Surveillance Officer, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme ( IDSP) confirmed to TNIE adding that an inquiry will be taken up after discussion with the Director.
Incidentally, the laboratory is one of three laboratories found involved in unauthorised COVIDtesting and not reporting Covid-19 positive cases to State Health Department, while overcharging and not maintaining proper records, by the Health Department.
Following an inspection by an IDSP team, the Director of Health and Family Welfare Dr S Mohan Kumar on May 24, 2021 had written to the District Collector cum District Magistrate Purva Garg recommending action against these laboratories, attaching inspection report by the medical team.
However, all three continues to function despite the passage of 12 days with no action taken as yet. “The health department and Sub Divisional Magistrate concerned have inspected and submitted a report. Accordingly, under the Clinical establishment act, action will be taken”, said Purva Garg.