Repatriation of expats: COVID diagnosis to be challenging
Thiruvananthapuram: When about 4 lakhs expats are about to return home soon, the diagnosis process is raising a challenge in the state. Facilities to quarantine or isolate them in hospitals have been arranged already. Majority of the people who are returning from other states and abroad are currently staying in the disease affected places. Pregnant women and other people who require expert treatment also are among them.
However, the government is clueless about how many people should be subjected to tests. Currently, there are 14 laboratories in public sector and two in private sector that conduct the swab test. It is not practical to conduct this test which costs upto Rs 4500 and takes time to get the result, on everyone. So, the government is planning to start rapid testing for tracing an antibody of the virus in blood.
There are no sufficient number of testing kits in the state. If it is available, a large majority of the people can be tested in the initial phase itself. Only the medical kits permitted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) can be used for testing. The government is trying to obtain the same.
Test for pregnant ladies
Kollam District Medical Officer issued an order that all pregnant women under treatment should be subjected to COVID test. But the Director of Health Services made it clear that no such decision has been taken in the state level. A group of doctors has demanded that COVID test should be made mandatory as a precaution.
Kollam DMO asked that those who completed 38 weeks of pregnancy and are under treatment in community health centres and similar hospitals should conduct swab test. It is not practical to conduct COVID test for everyone under treatment. Only samples of the quarantined people are sent for test at present.