TODAY -

Average testing rate keeps alive virus threat
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: September 30, 2021 -



WITH government, civil societies and public all deeply engrossed in the abduction and murder case of Athuan Abonmai, possibility of upsurge of the contagious Covid-19 cannot be ruled in view of the positivity rate hovering around the 7 per cent mark few days after the state recorded one of the lowest daily cases and rate of infection.

On September 22, the day Athuan Abonmai was found killed about 28 km from Tamenglong town after being whisked away by unknown armed men in a four-wheeler vehicle in full view of security personnel, the state's test positivity rate was only 4.83 per cent, the lowest after five months.

The drop in the rate of infection was not only the outcome of enhanced contact tracing exercise and testing of 3544 samples carried out by the healthcare workers but also provided an opportunity to tackle the pandemic effectively through sustaining the efforts to break the chain of transmission.

However, the record fall in the positivity rate seems to have sent the wrong message and led to complacency of the health department as the daily testing capacity saw a gradual decline compared to surge in the rate of case detection within a week's time.

From a healthy 3544 samples tested on the same day, the state saw one of its lowest daily positivity rates after onset of the Covid-19 second wave to only 1853 tests conducted on September 27 which led to rise in the positivity rate to over 6 per cent, it is clear that the health department authorities have been overlooking the importance of detecting the vectors.

Without increasing the testing capacity, there is no other option left to contain the virus.

It is an established fact that effective-contact tracing and proper treatment of the infected persons is the best weapon to prevent spread of the pandemic.

For instance, Mizoram with a total population of below 13 lakh has as on date conducted over 10.8 lakh samples whereas Manipur has been able to test a little over 12 lakh in-spite of its population nearly double that of the neighbouring state.

Mizoram currently is one of the worst Covid-19 hit states but its sample testing record suggests that all out efforts are being made to bring the pandemic situation' under control, unlike here where authorities seem to be relishing as the situation improves and swinging into action when number of patients and fatalities rises.

The fluctuation in the number of daily cases will definitely not be of concern to anybody but the same cannot be said in case the fatality counts increase.

Having lived with the virus for over 18 months, the public are unlikely to worry much with the average sample testing capacity.

However, it is certain that there would be outcries from civil societies and the government authorities would be held accountable as and when the daily cases and deaths surge.

As such it is hoped that the government would accord seriousness to the latest directive issued by the Union Home Secretary to states and UT to focus on the five-fold strategy of Test, Track, Treat, Vaccination and adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour', to safely navigate through the festive season, which in the state's context will inevitably see congregation of people in large numbers in public places.



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