Mumbai: Maximum City needs maximum testing, says former CM Devendra Fadnavis

Updated: Jun 07, 2020, 07:06 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis points out that despite having most number of cases in state, percentage share of COVID-19 tests in Mumbai is lower

Devendra Fadnavis during a silent protest at BJP's Churchgate office
Devendra Fadnavis during a silent protest at BJP's Churchgate office

Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis has demanded that more Mumbaikars be tested for COVID-19 because of the city's higher rate of infection. He said on Saturday that testing in Mumbai has been stagnant because of changed protocol, which does not permit all suspected patients to be tested.

He said Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra together had a capacity of conducting 35,000 tests daily, but in the state capital asymptomatic patients and high-risk contacts were not being tested. "The infection rate in Mumbai is much higher than the rest of Maharashtra and the country's average. I demand that testing be increased and private laboratories also be allowed to test people [at the will of the sick who can afford it]," the ex-CM said during a videoconference in which he addressed journalists. He added that up until May 1, Mumbai had conducted 56 per cent of the state's total tests, but the count dropped to 27 per cent by May 31. "Maximum tests were being conducted outside Mumbai."

Fadnavis also accused the government of not doing much to discipline private hospitals, which are turning COVID-19 patients away, even though it is mandatory for them to reserve 80 per cent beds for those infected by the virus. "This government speaks much but doesn't verify whether the word is followed at the ground level. Some influential hospitals have kept themselves off the government's mandate. It happens because a special GR hasn't been issued," he added.

According to Fadnavis, most hospitals in Mumbai were not registered for the state insurance scheme which covers COVID-19 treatment. Fadnavis alleged largescale corruption in purchasing of pandemic-related medical equipment, too. "PPEs are being purchased at higher rates. Several [jumbo] facilities are being erected. There is no transparency in these purchases and work order," said the ex-CM.

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