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Punjab performs better than national average, conducts 41849 tests of COVID-19: Balbir Singh Sidhu

  • State plans to commence testing at 4 State Government labs – RDDL-NZ Jalandhar, GADVASU Ludhiana, Punjab Biotech Incubator Mohali, & State FSL Mohali
  • Labs being set up at 4 Central Government institutions- IISER Mohali, NIPER Mohali, NABI Mohali & PU Chandigarh.
  • Proposal sent to GoI to set up 4 new labs in the District Hospitals at Barnala, Roopnagar, Ludhiana & Hoshiarpur

Chandigarh (Raftaar News Bureau) : State of Punjab has completed testing of 41849 people as on 13th May, 2020. The state has increased its testing per million figures to 1392 per day as on 13th May, 2020. This is better than the national average of 1243 tests per million per day. This was disclosed in a press communiqué here today by the Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu.

The Minister said that Punjab has followed an effective approach towards testing in the state. The state has formulated its testing strategy in consultation with medical experts from the state, experts from Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi and Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Mr. Balbir Singh said that Punjab has rapidly ramped up its testing rate by increasing its lab capacities. The state had tested 20,000 samples by 2nd May. Moving forward the state did the next set of 10,000 tests in just 5 days, crossing the mark of 30,000 tests by 7th May. The state is using its Government Medical College labs at full potential to test the Covid-19 suspected cases. Apart from these, Government of India institutions like IMTECH Chandigarh and PGI Chandigarh have been roped in for testing. Some ICMR approved private labs have been roped in by the Department of Health to increase the testing capacity of the state.

Further explaining, the Health Minister informed that purchase orders for the procurement of 3 MGI-SP960 Automated High Throughput RNA Extraction System have been made by the Department of Medical Education and Research for 3 Government Medical Colleges. The state also plans to commence testing at 4 State Government labs – RDDL-NZ Jalandhar, GADVASU Ludhiana, Punjab Biotech Incubator Mohali, and State FSL Mohali. Apart from this, labs are being set up at 4 Central Government institutions- IISER Mohali, NIPER Mohali, NABI Mohali, and PU Chandigarh.

Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu further told that a proposal has also been sent by the Department of Health to GoI to set up 4 new labs in the District Hospitals at Barnala, Roopnagar, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur. Additionally, a proposal to procure 15 TruNaat machines has been moved. State is also considering starting the CBNaat testing in Patiala and Faridkot. Government Labs are also going in for pool testing in low prevalence areas to enhance the testing capacity in the state. So far, approximately 7435 pool tests have been conducted in the state.

The Health Minister further added that for the purpose of surveillance, around 111 Flu Corners are collecting the samples for testing and around 161 teams are working in the field for the sample collection. All the medical personnel have been given proper training to ensure smooth sample collection process. All required protective gear, such as, PPE Kits/N95 masks have been provided to all healthcare works to ensure their complete safety. In order to facilitate the screening, 379 Rapid Response Teams (RRT), comprising of Medical officers/Multi Purpose Health Workers/Staff Nurse have been deployed to conduct active surveillance and identification of people with Influenza like Symptoms (ILI) or Severe Acute Respiratory Illness by house-to-house visits. The State has made use of innovative testing techniques such as use of mobile Sample collecting Kiosks. These kiosks are being placed at 124 locations all across the state.

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