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‘Govt. wants to show that lockdowns are not effective; Testing has been reduced..’ – CMLS (Video)


The government had reduced COVID testing after imposing the lockdown, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh says.

Kumudesh said that the government had imposed a lockdown under pressure from health experts, trade unionists, and the clergy. “The government perhaps wants to show us that lockdowns are not effective.”

The purpose of a lockdown was to prevent people from coming into contact with Covid-19 patients, but most pandemic hotspots were open, he said. Garment factories and construction sites, where a large number of cases were found, were operational. There were many people on the roads as well, he said.

“If the government wants to keep these hotspots open, it must increase testing. We can increase testing to 100,000 a day but we have only been doing fewer than 25,000. The number of tests conducted on Tuesday was lower than 18,000.

Kumudesh urged the Ministry of Health to remove restrictions on private labs to conduct rapid antigen tests. In June 2021, the Health Ministry had issued a circular banning private labs from conducting the rapid antigen tests. Later, the Ministry allowed around eight private labs to conduct them.

“The Ministry insisted on the signatures of microbiologists on reports. Now, these labs, on average, have to pay Rs. 250 per report to a microbiologist. There really is no need for a microbiologist to oversee the process. This requirement was introduced for microbiologists to make money.”

The CMLS President added that the circular banning the rapid antigen tests had been issued at a time when the pandemic was at level 3 severity, but now the severity level has risen to 5.

 “It is obvious that these guidelines do not suit the ground realities of today. A lot of medical experts have also pointed this out and they too have called for the lifting of the ban. The Health Ministry bigwigs are not making the necessary changes because these regulations are in place to enrich a select group.”



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