Over 29 lakh Rapid Antigen Tests done in J&K
A medical staff member takes a swab sample for Rapid antigen test for coronavirus in Srinagar Photo: Aman Farooq/GK

Over 29 lakh Rapid Antigen Tests done in J&K

Srinagar, June 11: Jammu and Kashmir government has conducted over 29 lakh Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) since August last year as it proved to be a game changer for testing the incoming air and road passengers and contact tracing of Covid-19 positive patients in Kashmir division in large numbers.

As per the official data till June, 29 lakh RATs were conducted in Kashmir division of which 1.20 lakh tested positive for Covid-19 and 27.8 lakh tested negative for the viral respiratory illness.

The highest number of RAT have been done in Srinagar district.

The summer capital reported 5.4 lakh tests so far followed by Srinagar Airport where 4.90 lakh persons were tested using RAT.

The RAT gives results within 15 minutes as against the RT-PCR, which normally takes at least one to two days, creating difficulties both for the travelers and the administration due to the provision of mandatory quarantine for incoming passengers till their test results come out.

Apart from RAT, J&K administration has conducted 9.56 lakh RT-PCR tests in Kashmir division, which includes 1.27 outside travelers.

As per the government statistics, over 42,000 Covid-19 tests are carried out daily in J&K.

However, nearly 80 percent of these tests, as per the data, are done using RAT.

The RAT has helped J&K increase the number of tests rapidly but many have criticised the “over-reliance” on this method for its “significant false negatives”.

Kashmir division has reported the highest number of Covid infection cases in comparison to Jammu.

Kashmir has reported 1,86,290 Covid-18 infection cases and 2102 deaths attributed to Covid-19 till June 7. As per the officials, RAT has proved to be a game changer achieving a target of 1500 tests per million population per day in Kashmir division.

On Sunday, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dullo said that J&K conducted 25.51 lakh Covid-19 tests in the past two months with an average of 42,000 tests done per day.

He said around 3400 tests per million population per day had been conducted in J&K.

“J&K has conducted 25,51,157 tests in the last two months. The average test per day is 42,000 tests, which is around 3400 tests per million population per day,” Dulloo said adding that J&K has installed three COBAS 680 machines in the last two months at SKIMS Srinagar, GMC Jammu and GMC Srinagar, which have enhanced RT-PCR capacities to around 15,000 tests per day.

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