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Lockdown is over, but statistics show Telangana is underprepared

State yet to ramp up number of RT-PCR tests being conducted, especially in dists outside GHMC limits; figures show TS recorded 3.03 lakh cases during 2nd wave

Published: 20th June 2021 08:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2021 08:57 AM   |  A+A-

A woman holds on to two children as they wait their turn to get tested for COVID-19 in Hyderabad

Second Wave of Covid-19 has left many children orphaned in India. (File Photo | AP)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Is Telangana ready for the complete removal of lockdown? While the number of active Covid-19 cases is declining day after day, the number of RT-PCR tests done, especially in districts outside the GHMC limits, is extremely low, raising concerns as to whether proper detection of cases will take place after lifting lockdown.The analysis of Telangana’s Covid-19 testing data between May 25 and June 19, provided by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), shows that RT-PCR formed only 17-18 per cent of all tests in the State. 

Moreover, a majority of these RT-PCR tests were conducted within the GHMC limits, mainly in Medchal, Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts. The other 30 districts had only a small share in the total number of RT-PCR tests done and they mostly relied on RAT.

For example, while close to half of all Covid-19 tests conducted in the GHMC limits, over the last three weeks, were RT-PCR, in Nalgonda and Khammam districts — which recorded nearly the same number of cases as GHMC limits, despite having a smaller population — the share of RT-PCR tests among all types of tests was just nine per cent and six percent respectively. 

Moreover, these districts have been witnessing a gradual drop in the share of RT-PCR tests among all tests — which went down from 65 per cent in the period between May 25, 2021 and May 31, 2o21 to 46 per cent between June 8 and June 14. 

In the meantime, while the RT-PCR testing capacity of Telangana continues to remain low, other south Indian States are ramping it up. As per the MoHFW data, 100 per cent tests in Tamil Nadu are RT-PCR, followed by Karnataka (71%), Andhra Pradesh (65%) and Kerala (39%). 

Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin, Chairman, Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Medanta, also expressed a similar fear, in a tweet, and said: “Unlocking completely? Telangana is living on the edge.”

1,362 NEW CASES AND 10 DEATHS IN TELANGANA
Telangana reported 1,362 cases of Covid-19, on Saturday. On the same day, the State recorded 1,813 recoveries, taking active caseload to 18,568 cases. Meanwhile, 10 persons succumbed to the virus, taking the death toll to 3,556. In the meantime, most parts of the State have started seeing cases in double-digit figures, except GHMC limits and Khammam which saw 145 and 122 cases respectively. While Rangareddy reported 97 cases, Suryapet saw 89 cases.

RT-PCR TESTING CAPACITY OF TS REMAINS LOW 
Nalgonda and Khammam districts have been witnessing a gradual drop in the share of RT-PCR tests — which went down from 65 per cent in the period between May 25, 2021 and May 31, 2o21 to 46 per cent between June 8 and June 14. While the RT-PCR testing capacity of Telangana continues to remain low, other south Indian States are ramping it up. As per the MoHFW data, 100 per cent tests in Tamil Nadu are RT-PCR, followed by Karnataka (71%)

Numbers matter
Share of RT-PCR tests, among all Covid tests, in five districts that have been categorised as ‘high risk’ is as follows



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