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1 lakh Covid-19 Tests During Fake Kumbh Festival: Report | India News

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HARIDWAR / DEHRADUN: A few days after a preliminary investigation by the Uttarakhand health department suggested that many of the four lakhs of Covid test results issued during the Kumbh festival in Haridwar They were false, a detailed investigation, spanning 1,600 pages and accessed by TOI, found that a private agency falsified at least 1 lakh of test reports.
In one case, a single phone number was used to register more than 50 people, while an antigen test kit (which has a unique number and is designed for single use) was shown to have tested 700 samples. “The addresses and names were fictitious. Nearly 530 samples were taken from ‘House number 5’ in Haridwar. Is it possible for a house to have more than 500 inhabitants? Strange addresses have been given: house number 56 in Aligarh, house number 76 in Mumbai, ”an official who is part of the investigation told TOI.
The official added: “The phone numbers were also false. People in Kanpur, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and 18 other locations shared the same phone number. ”
Dr. Arjun Singh Sengar, Kumbh Mela health officer, told TOI: “The agency was supposed to send the samples to two private laboratories. The labs are also under investigation. ”
According to Health Secretary Amit Negi, the investigation report has been sent to Haridwar DM. “Several irregularities have been found. We will take action after receiving a detailed report from the DM in 15 days, ”said Negi.
Haridwar District Magistrate C Ravishnkar said he was investigating the matter and that pending payment from all agencies has been suspended until further notice.
The 200 sample collectors employed by the agency turned out to be students and data entry operators in Rajasthan, who had never been to Haridwar. “A sample collector must be physically present to collect samples. When we contacted the agency’s registered sample collectors, we found that 50% of them were Rajasthan residents, many were students or data entry operators, ”said an official.
“A sample collector was someone enrolled in a skills development training program at a government authorized center in Hanumangarh (Rajasthan). When asked, he told us that he had never been to Kumbh. He said his instructor had given him the data and asked him to upload it as part of his training, ”according to the investigation report.
According to officials, this is “just the tip of the iceberg” as the state government commissioned eight more sample collection agencies to conduct tests after the high court ordered Uttarakhand to conduct at least 50,000 daily tests during Kumbh. The festival took place from April 1 to April 30 in Haridwar. The four lakh tests in this period were performed by nine agencies and 22 private laboratories. Most of these tests were antigen tests. The state department also conducted its own tests through government laboratories.
Of the 1 lakh tests conducted by the agency under a scanner, 177 were “Covid positive,” a positivity rate of just 0.18%. By contrast, the positivity rate at Haridwar in April rose to 10%. The scam came to light earlier this week after a Punjabi man, who had not visited Kumbh, received a negative Covid report on his phone from the Haridwar health department. He filed a complaint with the Indian Council for Medical Research, which alerted state authorities. The agency was paid 350 rupees for the antigen test and more for the RT-PCR tests, which means the scam runs to millions of rupees. Test results from other agencies are also now being investigated, a health department official said.



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