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Modi govt pulls up KCR-led Telangana for low testing numbers, says need to chase virus

Telangana accounted for just 1.5% of 14 lakh samples tested all over India until 7 May, despite having a higher positivity rate than national average.

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New Delhi: The Modi government has pulled up the KCR administration in Telangana for its low testing numbers, saying the “lack of proactive testing” will not help the state contain the Covid-19 pandemic, ThePrint has learnt.

“We need to chase the virus rather than the virus chase us (sic),” Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said in a letter dated 7 May to Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.

Among other things, Sudan noted that the state had a higher positivity rate — the ratio of positive diagnosis to the number of tests conducted — than the national average.

Urging him to review the situation and enhance testing, Sudan pointed out that Telangana accounted for just 1.5 per cent, or 20,754, of the more than 14 lakh RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) tests carried out across India.

The number of samples tested in Telangana, she said, are far behind those for places like Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, which have reported high numbers of Covid-19 cases.  

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Telangana as on 17 May was 1,551, with 34 deaths. 

ThePrint reached Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar for comment through phone calls and text messages, but there was no response until the time of publishing this report. 

State health minister Eatala Rajender had defended Telangana against allegations of low testing Sunday, saying on Twitter that “the number of tests… is lower means the tests are done for the people for whom indication is there strictly as per the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) guidelines”. He also attributed the higher positivity rate to better contact tracing.

Also Read: No Covid test if patient is dead, Delhi govt says in new guidelines for disposal of bodies

‘Behind Andhra Pradesh too’ 

Not only is Telangana behind the rest of India in testing, it even lags behind Andhra Pradesh, from which it was carved out in 2014. A health ministry official said while Andhra Pradesh conducts 9,000 tests per day on average, Telangana’s total is just over 200.

According to Sudan’s letter, which was accessed by ThePrint, Telangana’s tally of tests-per-million-population was far lower than that of other states, as well as the national average, between 30 April and 6 May. 

While the all-India testing average was 1,025 per million population, the figure for Telangana was only 546, she said.

“Further, at all-India level, percentage of positive samples to total tests (positivity rate) is about 4.12 per cent whereas in Telangana, it is 5.26 per cent, which shows that if we carry out RT-PCR testing aggressively, we will be able to identify cases and be able to have better containment by breaking the chain,” Sudan added.

Telangana has 20 laboratories approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to carry out the RT-PCR tests, out of which nine are government facilities and 11 are private.

Sudan has claimed in her letter that the private laboratories are not being used for RT-PCR testing, and the numbers for government labs are low.

“This indicates the capacities of the labs are not utilised optimally,” she said.

Also Read: How well has Modi govt’s Covid strategy worked? Answer lies in 1 million+ tests done so far


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  1. It has been a month since entire india has been testing except for Telangana. Mamata Banerjee was pulled up by the central teams for low testing and reporting of the cases. Now WB stands at 70 k tests while Telangana has around 23 k.

    If having a low number gives you pride that the lockdown has been successful then it is a false ego satisfaction. The lockdown was placed so that the health system gears up to the eventual case load. Lockdown along with testing isolating and quarantine is the way to go. Done successfully by Kerala.

    Honestly feel orphaned that the central govt has been either blind to the case of Telangana or the politics of it that there are no impending elections in this state. So why bother. If mamta Banerjee was sent a memo asking about the lower testing, why spare Telangana. Left messages on various platforms about testing and low numbers in Telangana. No avail. Explain the science behind going against the rule of the thumb…testing isolating and quarantine.

  2. Shekar Gupta in his words is speaking out of his ass..he should do an extensive research on center’s relief package and bring out the truths if he has any guys…TG govt is transparent/truthful and is more strategic in any approach.


  4. Modi Ji,
    Good Afternoon,
    Very nice to watch your parental view on Indian Children.
    But Cant compare with Father of Telangana KCR JI.
    To be frank must apply Telangana Ruling Model, pan INDIA.
    If this would have done, then no Delhi Riots.

    Anyhow, nice to c all political leaders acting as well-wishers of INDIANS.

  5. If tests are being suppressed then where are the active cases and deaths as the infection cannot be suppressed
    Better testing strategy=high positive rates

  6. Perhaps, the Telangana government should teach other states how to optimally use their testing facilities. Health Minister says that they stopped testing because there were no cases. How do they know that there are no cases if they don’t even test?
    It seems as if the regional media is afraid of KCR. Had this happened in Andhra, our news channels would have been discussing and debating non-stop how stupid YS Jagan is.

  7. Perhaps, the Telangana government should teach other states how to optimally use their testing facilities. Health Minister says that they stopped testing because there were no cases. How do they know that there are no cases when they’re not even testing?
    It appears as if the regional media is afraid of KCR. Had this happened in Andhra, we would have seen our media channels thrashing YS Jagan without break.

  8. Why is Shekhar Gupta going helter skelter? Talking about 370 & all that nonsense, asking us to read this article as if it contained any more info than what he said in the video?

    ‘Higher Positive Rate’ doesn’t prove anything. Rather it indicates careful selection of testees by doctors, in other words better screening by doctors.

  9. Is it possible to provide the link of Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan’s letter to Telangana ?

  10. And In all these days I was thinking that Telangana has low cases. If its true he is deceiving people of Telangana he should come out and explain about this.

  11. If the Central government officials are “urging” the Telangana officials to ” review the situation”, then we can be sure that no rapid action is imminent. This can be problematic with Eid festivities only a few days away, where some may perceive a sense of security and let their guard down.

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