Coronavirus | J&K govt clarifies on testing kits

There is no interruption in testing process because of any shortage: GMC Principal

Updated - April 17, 2020 02:12 am IST

Published - April 16, 2020 09:06 pm IST - Kashmir

The Jammu and Kashmir government clarified on Thursday that the Kashmir Valley is not facing any dearth of testing kits.

“There is no truth that a testing kit consignment was diverted to Jammu. It was first delivered in Jammu and the next day it was received in Srinagar. There was no interruption in the testing process because of any shortage,” said Dr. Samia Rashid, Principal of the Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.

The government clarification came after The Hindu published a report on a consignment of 5,000 testing kits being diverted to Jammu. They were shifted to Srinagar only after the intervention of senior officials in the Union Territory.

Ms. Rashid said a third testing centre was being established at the Jhelum Valley Medical College, Bemina. Testing centres are there now at GMC, Srinagar, and the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences hospital.

A government spokesman said doctors at the SKIMS hospital confirmed that it was not facing any shortage of test kits and had ramped up the number to 1000 tests a day. However, the hospital has not clarified as how many fresh samples from the Directorate of Health, Kashmir, were received on Wednesday, due to the delay in testing kits arrival.

On the role of the Dr. Jitender Mehta, Divisional Officer, National Health Mission, the spokesman said the former was actively involved in COVID-19 “mitigation and management”. “Dr. Mehta had no role in the procurement process,” the spokesman added.

Dr. Samir Mattoo, Director of Health Services, Kashmir, said his department was carrying out sample collection across the Valley aggressively.

Several civil society groups and traders’ bodies have called for transparency in the mitigation plan pursued by the government to manage the COVID-19 crisis.

“We demand a clarification from the government. There should be a fast-track inquiry and the Lt. Governor should punish the culprits, so that it serves as a deterrent to other officers,” said Farooq Kuthoo, spokesman of the J&K RTI Movement.

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