West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, April 22, lashed out at the central government for sending defective test kits to the state. Mamata Banerjee slammed ICMR for pushing the state into uncertainty over the future of COVID-19 tests.
She claimed that initially Bengal was not supplied with test kits and later the state was given faulty kits. The kits had been withdrawn by ICMR leaving zero kits with the state.
Banerjee pointed the finger at the defective kits provided by the ICMR for the lower number of tests in Bengal and blamed the centre for the "health Hazard".
"Now all the rapid kits are being withdrawn because they are defective. Whose fault is it? There are three types of kits. One is the rapid test kit which has been withdrawn because it's faulty. Next is the RT-PCR kits, these are also being withdrawn. Third type is antigen kits and we don't have it in Bengal. Then where are the kits in our hand?" Banerjee said in a press conference at the state secretariat.
On April 22, the State Health Department took the matter to Twitter.
3. Antigen Kits - Not supplied to hospitals in Bengal.— Department of Health & Family Welfare, West Bengal (@wbdhfw) April 22, 2020
Thus, as on 22nd Apr, WBDHFW has 0 kits supplied from ICMR/NICED which can test a COVID patient as per ICMR recommendations
Assuring all citizens that every possible effort is being made to address this situation (2/2)
Bengal, one of the most populous states, is home to nine-crore population. But the number of tests that have been carried out in the state are very few compared to others.
The Bengal government has been criticised for sluggish COCID-19 test numbers by opponent parties and different organisations. Bengal has tested only 7037 people till Wednesday.
"If people are not tested on time and they die, who will be held accountable? I do not know what they planned. But, we (West Bengal government) are not responsible for the health hazard looming over us," Banerjee added.
The Bengal government ordered 14,000 kits separately and received 10,000 rapid antigen kits by ICMR. The government used 220 kits before ICMR put a hold on the use on Tuesday, April 21.
West Bengal has 425 reported coronavirus cases and 15 deaths.