NEW DELHI: While most states have increased testing in the wake of a surging second wave of Covid-19 infections, Delhi and Telangana have actually scaled down their testing by up to 3 lakh samples each in the last fortnight, between April 21 and May 4, raising concerns over efficacy of disease control in these states.
Overall, Covid-19 tests went up by 19% during between April 21 and May 4 compared to the previous fortnight of April 8-21. Total all-India tests have gone up from 1.87 crore to 2.21 crore during the two fortnights.
At a 32% positivity rate (total confirmed cases per 100 tests), Delhi has witnessed a surge of new cases, overwhelming its health system. The T-3 strategy (track, test, treat) is key to containment of the pandemic. However, instead of ramping up testing, Delhi has actually reduced it by 2.7 lakh samples in the last fortnight compared to the previous one. Total tests conducted by Delhi during the last two weeks (April 21-May 4) was 9.55 lakh against 12.26 lakh in the previous fortnight.
Telangana is the other state where tests have come down by at least 3 lakh in the last fortnight. Bihar has slowed down but very marginally though it should be increasing testing.
In terms of tests per million, Delhi continues to rank high with 8.8 lakh tests, followed by Jammu and Kashmir (5.7 lakh/m), Goa (4.5 lakh), Kerala (4.7 lakh), Karnataka (4 lakh), Telangana and Uttarakhand (3.5 lakh each). The problem with Delhi is that the rate of infection demands more testing. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have conducted over 3 lakh tests/million, Gujarat (2.8 lakh) Maharashtra (2.3 lakh), UP (1.8 lakh), Rajasthan and West Bengal 1 lakh tests each.
However, in absolute numbers, Maharashtra is at the top with 34 lakh tests (during April 21-May 4), followed by UP with 29 lakh, Karnataka (22 lakh), Gujarat (21 lakh), Tamil Nadu (17.25 lakh) and Kerala (17 lakh).
A similar study in March had found that countrywide testing had gone up by 38% during the last fortnight of the month compared to the first two weeks. The total Covid-19 tests conducted during March 1-14 was 97.89 lakh which was augmented to 1.35 crore between March 14-27. The total fortnightly tests have now reached 2.2 crore.