At a time when India is facing an acute shortage of COVID-19 test kits, a consignment of four lakh rapid test kits for the healthcare officials in Tamil Nadu has been diverted to the United States by China.
Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Dr K Shanmugam told the media on April 11 that this diversion led to a delay in the state carrying out rapid tests for the virus which were scheduled from April 10.
Shanmugam said that Tamil Nadu was among the first states to place orders for 50,000 kits from China as soon as the Centre informed the state that they could place the order for such kits on their own. The state had placed an order for a total of four lakh kits very early and expected China to dispatch them soon.
Currently, the Tamil Nadu has 15,000 test kits, however, these kits are not effective enough to produce quick results. With the spike in the number of cases in the state, Tamil Nadu planned to switch to rapid tests for better and quick results.
The rapid tests are expected to help the front-line workers detect if a person has COVID-19 within 30 minutes. The Tamil Nadu government has planned to test people with signs of pneumonia.
Until 11 April evening, 969 people in the state had tested positive for the virus and 10 had died due to it.
Shanmugam said that the Centre has assured to supply 50,000 rapid testing kits as soon as it gets the next consignment from China.
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