Sunny Side Down

Jagan wants more tests for Covid-19

Apart from the imported South Korean test kits, Andhra Pradesh is innovatively using TrueNat machines that are actually used for tuberculosis testing.

 |  Sunny Side Down  |  3-minute read |   24-04-2020
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As cases are on the rise in Kurnool, Guntur, Krishna and Nellore, Andhra Pradesh is buckling up and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has called for taking effective steps to restrict the spread of the virus by increasing testing. With 830 tests per million people, Andhra claims it tops the country in Covid-19 testing. In all, 41,512 persons were tested by April 22. However, this does not imply it has conducted the most tests.

Apart from the imported South Korean test kits, the state is innovatively using TrueNat machines that are actually used for tuberculosis testing. Vizianagaram and Srikakulam are the only districts where there were no positive Covid-19 cases but tests are conducted here too using the TrueNat machines. By April 23, with three more persons succumbing to Covid-19 19, the toll touched 27 and the tally of positive cases was 893. The state’s strategy is focused on expanding screenings and testing through the

Truenat machines as it sets up eight diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing laboratories. The screening process is being expanded with the rapid anti body testing and chemiluminiscent immunoassay IgG and IgM methods. It is for this the state imported the rapid test kits (RTKs) from South Korea. ON April 17, the state imported 1,00,000 of these RTKs to step up Covid-19 testing. With RTKs, it can be known in just ten minutes whether or not person carries the virus.

However, the rapid anti body test will only be of utility seven days after the onset of symptoms. RTKs are only supplementary tools to assess the prevalence of the disease within a specific area.

Data about such kits is still emerging. Even if this test offers positive results, it will have to be followed up by the full-fledged PCR test, according to the ICMR.

A protocol has been formulated for treatment of patients. The state will increase the number of hospitals exclusively for Covid-19 patients by converting 79 hospitals in 13 districts, 23 government hospitals, 54 private hospitals and one run by a trust. The state is also studying different types of treatment and the focus is on providing and monitoring constant oxygen supply to them. It is also focusing on nutrition and preventive measures. Reddy has directed officials to provide financial assistance of `2,000 each to the underprivileged to buy nutritious food when they’re out of quarantine. Three masks are also being distributed to everyone in Andhra Pradesh.

Reddy is keeping tabs on the predominant agrarian economy. Agriculture authorities are to procure 32.71 lakh tonnes of the paddy that is being harvested by setting up 1,280 procurement centres. Officials and police will allow labourers to take part in harvesting, packing and transport activities and ensure they also take all precautions. Buying rabi produce direct from farmers will have a huge impact for the cash strapped state. Reddy has instructed the procurement agencies to pay farmers within 48 hours from the purchase. He has also directed the officials to see that no price fall happens because of inadequate marketing facility.

The targeted rabi crop area is 63 lakh acres. As state Commissioner of Agriculture, Marketing and Cooperation puts it: “The decentralized procurement not only helps the farmers sell their crop but also helps authorities implement the lockdown as the centres are located near the farmlands across the state.”

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

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Writer

Amarnath K Menon Amarnath K Menon @amarnathkmenon

The writer is Senior Deputy Editor, India Today and is based in Hyderabad.

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