7,872 people listed ‘negative’ by mistake: NMMC probe

Mandatory check: A passenger smiles as she awaits her turn to get tested for COVID-19 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai on Friday.   | Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

A three-member investigation team formed by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has found that 7,872 people were erroneously listed as having tested negative for COVID-19.

NMMC Commissioner Abhijit Bangar formed the team in November last year to probe allegations by Maratha Kranti Morcha activists that the kin of negative patients who had not been tested for COVID-19 were also listed as having tested negative on the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) website. The activists said even relatives who had died 10 years ago were listed ‘negative’.

The NMMC had suspended Dr. Sachin Nemane, the nodal officer in-charge of conducting antigen tests, following a data entry error. Mr. Bangar had said when a person tests negative, the details of the kin are entered as ‘NA’, but the operator marked them ‘negative’.

After a three-month-long probe, the team submitted a 11,591-page report, which said it was evident there was an error in recording the results. Mr. Bangar said the team verified the claims by making calls to 1.52 lakh people who were tested to check if they had actually undergone the tests and if their names matched with the inventory of used rapid antigen testing kits between July 16 and November 30.

Of them, 98.94% confirmed that they had undergone the test. The team found that the NMMC had purchased 2.40 lakh rapid antigen kits, of which 2.13 lakh were used and 4,717 were defective, while 21,679 were found at the Central drug depot and the NMMC’s various testing centres. The total used kits and tests conducted also matched.

‘Will take action’

Mr. Bangar said, “A total of 2.13 lakh antigen kits were used, but the number of tests registered on the ICMR website was 2.21 lakh. So, there were 7,872 additional entries. This was due to faulty registration. No financial irregularities were found. The data operator marked the kin of ‘negative’ patients as ‘negative’ without conducting a test. There was no error in any of the ‘positive’ cases. We will fix responsibility and take action.”

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 1:49:42 AM |

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