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COVID-19: Half of India still not doing enough testing: Data shows

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Ground Report | New Delhi: COVID-19: Half of India still not doing enough testing: Data shows The latest figures released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show that more than half of people across the country are still not doing enough tests,. In 382 out of 741 districts of the country, the positivity rate remains above 10 percent.

According to the report published by Downtoearth website. The positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus among those tested overall. A high positivity rate indicates that the test is limited to people with high suspicion of relatively novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and may miss new series of transmission in the community.

According to the website, a low positivity rate, in contrast, means that test levels are sufficient for the epidemic scale and surveillance is sufficiently penetrating the community to detect any resurgence.

The World Health Organization recommends that daily positivity rates should be below 5 percent for at least two weeks before public health measures are relaxed. A positivity rate of 10 percent is considered acceptable.

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In 24 of the 37 states and union territories, more than half of the districts have a positivity rate of over 10 percent. Nine of them – Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Sikkim and West Bengal – all districts have high positivity rates.

There are no districts with high positivity rates in Telangana, Mizoram, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Meanwhile, only one district with high positivity rate was recorded in Uttar Pradesh (Ghaziabad) and Bihar (Patna).

Bad testing in rural areas

About 70 percent of the districts with high positivity rates are rural, indicating that many positive cases are going undiagnosed. Odisha has the most rural districts (27), followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (25) and West Bengal (18). At the same time, 13 of the 15 districts with the worst positivity rates are also rural.

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Four of the worst performing districts are in Arunachal Pradesh: Changlang (96 per cent), East Kameng (80 per cent), Namsai (77 per cent) and Upper Subansiri (67 per cent). Two more districts of Arunachal – Upper Siang and Kamal – comprise the 10 worst districts.

Although still at alarming levels, India’s positivity rate is down. From 22.6 percent on 8 May, the country’s positivity rate decreased to 14.55 May 21. On 21 May, Luv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry said “India has seen a steady upward trend in weekly tests since mid-February, a 2.3-fold increase in average daily tests over the past 12 weeks. As a result of increased testing, the positivity of the case has started to decrease after increasing for 10 consecutive weeks for the past two weeks”.

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