Rational testing policy must, experts tell Telangana Guv

  Written by : IANS Updated: Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 12:19 PM
 

Hyderabad, June  (IANS) Telangana Governor, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan on Monday interacted with experts on combating the Covid-19 pandemic and they suggested a rational testing policy be evolved based on the local conditions, rather than strictly adhering to the broad guidelines of the ICMR.

The suggestion is significant as the state government has been coming under criticism from various quarters for not conducting adequate number of tests. The government has been maintaining that it is strictly going by the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The Governor's interaction is also seen as significant as she is reportedly in favour of increasing the number of tests. Soundararajan, a doctor herself, is also understood to be unhappy with the state government's response to her requests for information on Covid-19 situation while the government is also reportedly not pleased with her visit to a hospital last week.

A statement from Raj Bhavan listed out the suggestions that emerged during the interaction the Governor had with experts and eminent persons through video conference.

Most of the suggestions are similar to the directions given or observations made by the High Court and the demands raised by the opposition parties.

The participants in the video conference included former Union Health Secretary K. Sujatha Rao, former Director General of Police H.J. Dora, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Director Dr Rakesh Mishra, Apollo Group of Hospitals President, Dr Hariprasad and Indian Medical Association, Telanagana, President, Dr Vijender Reddy, Telangana's first Covid patient to get plasma therapy, Vamsi Mohan, and US-based Covid-19 and kidney researcher, Dr Swaminathan.

The experts favoured an epidemiological spread-based testing and effective tracing.

Death cases which have symptoms of Covid-19 may be tested to facilitate isolation of family members and to know the epidemiological spread of disease, they added.

"Since lockdown is not an affordable option for a prolonged period, the only strategy that can be adopted is test, trace and treat," they said.

The experts called for ramping up the conduct of tests to cover all asymptomatic cases in the identified red zones and hotspots and conducting antibody tests to understand community spread.

They suggested pool testing in the hotspots, deployment of more mobile and drive-through testing laboratories and proactive and aggressive conduct of RT-PCR tests.

They also underlined the need to safeguard the frontline warriors and called for stringent action against those attacking doctors and paramedical staff.

The experts also suggested that all journalists on the field be tested "as they are the potential spreaders of infection and they are more likely to get infected, because they travel a lot and meet many people because of the nature of their work".

The experts also mooted different protocols of treatment of Covid-19 patients, depending on the severity of illness. They also called for planning for plasma therapy.

The outcomes of the interaction will be documented and shared with the state government for consideration while planning effective containment of Covid-19, said an earlier statement from the Raj Bhavan.

The Governor had last week visited the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) to show solidarity with the healthcare workers affected by Covid-19 while discharging their duties.

She had told reporters after coming out of the hospital that she personally met medicos, nurses and paramedics who got infected and wished them a speedy recovery. The Governor has also expressed concern at the rising number of cases.

There has been a surge in Covid-19 cases in Telangana in the last few days. On Monday, the tally crossed the 5,000 mark.