Founder and the Managing Director of the private diagnostic lab, Thyrocare Technologies, A Velumani has said that the government authorities in some districts have been trying to 'control' the process of testing for the novel coronavirus to show a 'better scorecard'.
Velumani told The Indian Express that even though testing has started, the government is trying to limit private centre testing at district levels, and it is steadily increasing.
"We have been told not to pick up samples in many districts in different states, claiming that we are reporting false positives," Velumani as quoted.
Thyrocare is one of the top five diagnostic centres in India and has been collecting samples of coronavirus cases in several states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Uttarakhand.
Velumani said that around 2,000 of their samples are reduced every day across at least 100 districts, as they do not intend to show a higher positivity scorecard.
In 30 per cent of the districts, Thyrocare officials are verbally told to limit testing while they collect samples, the director added. He did not disclose the names of the districts.
Managing director of diagnostic chain Metropolis Healthcare, Ameera Shah spoke to the media about the importance of testing at this stage of the pandemic in India. The more the testing is done, the more probability and higher success rate in containing the spread of the infection, and avoid the possible next spike that is expected to come in the October to December quarter, she added.
According to the report, a senior executive of another big diagnostic company has been facing similar issues. This exercise of limiting the tests majorly happened in Maharashtra and Gujarat, he added. It has failed to ramp up the testing pace by the company.
The executive further said that if they tell us not to release the reports, that should be considered as the final call. States have their pressures for not wanting to show positive cases, but now that the pressure is trickled down at the district level, people are pestering us to do a maximum total number of tests per day, he added.
ICMR denied any role in the testing conducted in various states and said it doesn't have any regulatory authority over them. "All the issues highlighted are within the purview of the respective state governments. ICMR does not have any regulatory authority. All states are free to decide on the levels of engagement with the private and public sector," ICMR media coordinator said.
According to the Health Ministry update, since October 1, the country has tested between 8.5 lakh and 14.7 lakh samples per day and is among the top countries in term of testing.