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“Testing must increase to prevent fast spread”

Panelists are of the view that the biggest role in prevention of Covid-19 is that of testing,

Coronavirus cases have gone beyond one lakh in the country. Testing for coronavirus patients is still far from the desired level. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue with medical experts including Dr Sudhir Kumar Gupta from Kailash Hospital, Noida, and IMA associates Dr Manoj Gobila, Dr DR Rao and Dr KK Aggarwal.

Dr Gupta said: “Testing is the only way out to isolate patients and prevent others from getting the virus.”

Dr Rao said: “Of all the precautionary measures, the biggest role is that of testing.”

Dr Gupta said: “Without tests we do not know if the patient is Covid-19 positive. Right now we can do about one lakh tests a day. But exact numbers we can come to know only if testing improves.”

Dr Rao said: “See to get the entire population’s testing done, it will take years. But we can go in for random tests. The numbers are rising fast daily, by the thousands. If we don’t increase testing, the numbers will go beyond what we can handle.”

Dr Aggarwal said: “Lockdown has not been successful. It has only shifted doubling times from eight days to 13. There is no discipline among people, we have seen that. We must practice social distancing. At the individual level, discipline must be there. Most people are having minor symptoms like rash in the eye.”

Dr Gobila said: “We need to know what is the reason for the fast spread? Pulse oximeter or thermal scanning both are needed. Symptoms can be of corona or not. We cannot test anyone why has normal flu symptoms. Migrants exodus has also led to a rise in cases. There is no proper monitoring or feedback.”

Dr Aggarwal said: “Contact tracing and testing are the only way out.”

Dr Gupta said: “Testing is expensive and the government can make it free for only those who cannot afford.”

Dr Rao said: “It is true we do not have high testing facilities. That’s why contact tracing and isolation are very important. Those who are not serious, but showing symptoms, should be kept in quarantine.”

Dr Gobila said: “Till now the death rates are on the lower side, but eventually the government will have to think of subsidizing testing because testing must go up.”

Dr Rao said: “We have to control the damages. Migrants are leaving towns in large number, and they should be quarantined in the villages.”

Dr Gobila said: “Lockdown relaxation is necessary for the recovery of the economy. But the numbers have gone up because people have been compromising on social distancing. Earlier it was the visitors coming to India, then people congregated at mosques etc, then the liquor queues and then the migrants’ exodus. If the labour folk goes back, how will industries start? The administration must look at all aspects holistically. Tests like that of pulse oximeter and thermal scanning along with social discipline together can help to improve the situation.”

Dr Rao said: “We are fighting an invisible enemy. We can only win this battle by being disciplined ourselves. People should volunteer information if they have come in contact with any Corona patient.”

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