UP to Become First State to Start Pool Testing of Covid-19 Samples as Cases Jump to 558
A doctor readies to take a swab to test for coronavirus. (Reuters)
Lucknow: As the number of Covid-19 positive patients in Uttar Pradesh reached 558 on Monday, the state government decided to start pool testing of the coronavirus samples. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) gave permission for pool testing to the state in order to help maximise the testing of samples on a daily basis.
“The ICMR has given permission for testing several samples at a time. This will boost the daily testing capacity of the state health department. Uttar Pradesh will be the first state to start pool testing, a protocol for the same will be decided soon,” said Amit Mohan Prasad, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“During pool testing, if 10 samples are mixed and tested for Covid-19 and if they test negative, then it will be an indicator that all samples are negative. But if the test is not negative, then individual testing will be done. This will increase the testing capacity as well as accelerate the process. The health department at the moment is testing around 2000 samples per day in the state,” Prasad said.
Prasad also announced the commencement of telephonic consultation facility in UP as part of which people can call on toll free number 18001805145 and can consult with the doctors who have retired from the army and the government.
Meanwhile, the tally for coronavirus cases in the state reached 558 after 75 new cases were reported on Monday. Agra reported the maximum number of 139 cases in a day, followed by Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) which had 68 new cases. These districts were followed by Meerut where the tally reached 56 and state capital Lucknow which had 36 patients.
Out of the new 75 positive cases reported on Monday, 35 were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi. Of the total 558 cases, 307 have been found to have links with the religious mass gathering in March.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has already announced the formation of committees that would look into several measures to be adopted during the extended lockdown. All state ministers are expected to come to work from Monday and will be assigned specific tasks during the lockdown period.
In an address on Sunday evening, Adityanath said the conditions to be followed during and after the lockdown were discussed at a meeting with cabinet ministers. “Everyone present at the meeting unanimously agreed that it was due to the decisions of the PM that the country was saved from a pandemic-like situation to a certain extent. In the future, too, we will abide by the guidelines laid down by the central government.”
“We have constituted committees that will work after April 15. These committees have been given specific tasks. One such panel, led by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, will ensure that social distancing is followed in construction-related work and other activities, including on the expressway,” he said.
Another committee, headed by Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, will take care of the syllabus for online education in the state.
Adityanath said a large numbers of poor people, including farmers, in the state received money in their bank accounts during the lockdown. Life insurance worth Rs 50 lakh has also been provided to health workers, police personnel and home guards, he said.
“More than 3.54 crore families of the state have been given free ration in the first phase of the curfew,” the chief minister added.
Adityanath also urged religious leaders to ensure that social distancing is maintained during upcoming festivals. “I know there are events like Baisakhi and Ramzan. I would request all religious leaders to urge people not to gather for any kind public function as social distancing must be practiced,” he said.